New Version of Original HomePod to Return Next Year
Apple is likely to release a successor to the original HomePod next year that will feature a new display on top supporting new touch interactions, according to Mark Gurman.
Writing in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, the Bloomberg journalist says the smart speaker will have a similar size and boast comparable audio quality as the original, now discontinued HomePod, and will be powered by the future Apple Watch Series 8 chip, the S8 processor.
The HomePod, code-named B620, will run the same S8 chip coming to the watches and will be closer to the original HomePod in terms of size and audio performance rather than a new HomePod mini. The new HomePod will have an updated display on top and there's even been some talk of multi-touch functionality.
According to Gurman, the S8 chip in the new HomePod will have the same specifications as the S7 chip, which was also the same as the S6 used in 2020's Apple Watch Series 6. For context, the current HomePod mini uses the S5 chip that was introduced with Apple Watch Series 5.
In 2021, Gurman reported that Apple shelved plans for a direct successor to the HomePod that was originally scheduled to launch in 2022. Since then, Gurman has reported that Apple is working on new HomePod models with a display and a camera to compete with the likes of Amazon's Echo Show and Facebook's Portal, although that now sounds like a different device altogether.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently claimed Apple is working on an updated version of the HomePod that could come in the fourth quarter of 2022 or the first quarter of 2023. Kuo cautioned that there "may not be much innovation in hardware design" compared to the original HomePod, but that is unlikely to concern fans of the discontinued model.
The original HomePod was announced in 2017, and was Apple's first foray into the competitive smart speaker market. Apple discontinued the HomePod in March 2021 to focus on the HomePod mini and due to lackluster sales.
Gurman's latest newsletter also mentioned Apple's intention to bring always-on display features to this year's iPhone 14 Pro models, as well as launch a new Mac mini with an M2 Pro chip, and a new Apple TV with an A14 chip.