HomePod Mini Now Three Years Old: Here's What to Expect From the Next Generation

Apple announced the HomePod mini three years ago today at its "Hi, Speed" event alongside the iPhone 12 and ‌iPhone‌ 12 Pro, offering a small form-factor version of its smart speaker for the first time, with a price tag of just $99.

homepod mini thumb feature
Less than half a year after announcing the ‌HomePod mini‌, Apple discontinued the original HomePod, leaving the ‌HomePod mini‌ as the company's only smart speaker until earlier this year when Apple relaunched the full-size HomePod form factor. The newly reintroduced ‌HomePod‌ offers a large number of features that were previously exclusive to the ‌HomePod mini‌, including an Apple Watch S-series chip, a U1 ultra wideband chip, Thread support, a temperature and humidity sensor, and a larger backlit touch surface that illuminates from edge to edge.

Apple refreshed the ‌HomePod mini‌ with color in 2021, adding Blue, Yellow, and Orange options, but the device has remained otherwise unchanged since its introduction. It is now among the oldest devices that Apple still sells, surpassed only by the Pro Display XDR and second-generation Apple Pencil.

What Next for the HomePod mini?

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman was first to highlight Apple's work on a second-generation HomePod mini in August 2022. Gurman has since expressed skepticism about what a new ‌HomePod mini‌ could offer since "the latest ‌HomePod‌ doesn't include any major new functions that aren't already in the $99 mini."

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A second-generation ‌HomePod mini‌ could conceivably introduce a lower-latency Handoff experience with the second-generation ultra wideband chip, improved sound and microphones, and the S7, S8, S9, or S10 chip. Siri requests are now processed locally on the Apple Watch Series 9 thanks to the improved performance of the S9 chip, so bringing the same hardware to the next-generation ‌HomePod mini‌ could considerably boost ‌Siri‌'s responsiveness. A new ‌HomePod mini‌ could also see specification upgrades, such as Wi-Fi 6E support.

The ‌HomePod mini‌ currently contains the S5 chip from the Apple Watch Series 5 and first-generation Apple Watch SE. 2024 will likely see the introduction of the S10 chip in the next-generation Apple Watch, so that's the most advanced chip Apple could feasibly give the device if it launches before late 2025.

The 2023 ‌HomePod‌ contains the S7 chip, the same chip used in 2021's Apple Watch Series 7. Despite the introduction of the S8 chip in late 2022 in the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra, and second-generation ‌Apple Watch SE‌, Apple elected to use the S7 chip. This suggests it isn't certain that Apple will use its latest S-series chip in the second-generation ‌HomePod mini‌.

s9 chip apple watch
The S6, S7, and S8 chips are all fundamentally the same and based on the A13 Bionic chip. The S9 chip, on the other hand, is based on the A15 Bionic chip, leading to major performance and efficiency improvements. The S6, S7, or S8 chip would still be a notable upgrade for the ‌HomePod mini‌, but the S9 or S10 chip would offer even more substantial enhancements.

It also seems highly likely that a new ‌HomePod mini‌ will come in a refreshed selection of color options. The current device is available in Space Gray, Blue, Yellow, White, and Orange. With the reintroduced full-size ‌HomePod‌, Apple swapped Space Gray for Midnight, so a similar switch seems likely for the ‌HomePod mini‌ at a minimum.

Release Date

In February, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple will begin mass shipments of the second-generation ‌HomePod mini‌ in the second half of 2024, which seems likely given the age of the current model and apparent active development on a new version for over a year.

It is also possible that Apple could wait to introduce a new ‌HomePod mini‌ until the debut of a third-generation full-size ‌HomePod‌, especially if it includes new features. Apple is developing an updated version of the ‌HomePod‌ that will feature a 7-inch display, according to ‌Ming-Chi Kuo‌. The ‌HomePod‌ with a 7-inch display is expected to come out next year at the earliest.

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Top Rated Comments

w00master Avatar
8 months ago
How about fixing Siri first? HomePod is just a glorified wirelesss bluetooth speaker right now.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SoldOnApple Avatar
8 months ago
Let the mini act as rear and side speakers for surround sound.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
icanhazmac Avatar
8 months ago
I still cannot see any reason to buy a "smart" speaker.

The speaker portion will almost always out live the "smarts" portion of the device. Once the manufacturer deems the device too old for updates it might become useless.

How about this... just buy great quality speakers and let your phone be the smarts. Most people aren't more than 3 feet from their phones anyway, or wearing a watch.

YMMV
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tomtad Avatar
8 months ago

it sounds very average and the price is much too high, in my opinion it should cost a maximum of 50-60 usd. For a lower price than the mini ones sells, you can buy an Amazon Echo speaker (not the dot model, a larger one) that sounds way better.
The mini is one of the best priced products Apple sells. Bear in mind this is a company that charges $49 for silicone phone cases
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HobeSoundDarryl Avatar
8 months ago

I still cannot see any reason to buy a "smart" speaker.

The speaker portion will almost always out live the "smarts" portion of the device. Once the manufacturer deems the device too old for updates it might become useless.

How about this... just buy great quality speakers and let your phone be the smarts. Most people aren't more than 3 feet from their phones anyway, or wearing a watch.

YMMV
Absolutely THIS!

Good speakers can easily go DECADES. With care, they do not degrade, slow down, get 'long in tooth', etc like silicon tech. Smarts tied to mobile OSes are going to age out QUICKLY (notice how GEN1 HP can't stereo pair with GEN2 as just one example).

Along with "smarts" in phone, they can also live in Mac, AppleTV and iPad too. Those devices naturally have much shorter useful lifespans. And when you buy replacements, you get the newest "smarts" in them too.

Pair quality "dumb" speakers with a good Receiver or Amp and let your other tech be the smarts. Then you buy the speaker portion just ONCE and will likely still be enjoying it 4-8 phones, 2-3 Macs, etc from now... and it sounding just as good as day 1. That is almost certainly NOT going to be the case with any of these smart speakers... which have their end built in just like throwing out perfectly good screens in iMacs when the silicon tech is vintaged or conks.

Want to be smart about smart speakers? Buy quality "DUMB" ones and keep the "smarts" in the separate devices you already own. Else, it's practically guaranteed you'll be buying the dumb parts of smart speakers over and over again even though the ones you already own can still play with the exact same sound quality.

Wish:

* these could do Dolby Digital? "Dumb" speakers can deliver that decades ago.
* you could add a subwoofer or soundbar? "Dumb" speaker setups can add any number of speakers, including wall-shaking, window-breaking subs if one wants that. Add in a true center channel speaker for better-than-soundbar sound or any soundbar if you want one of those in the mix.
* you could have TRUE Atmos vs. faux Atmos? "Dumb" speakers setups can deliver true Atmos by putting speakers all around you and above you. Objective ears will definitely hear the difference. You'll NEVER find any professional theater with only a lone soundbar or 2 HPs down front. The pros put speakers all around the audience for a reason... which is not to waste a lot of money on something that isn't noticeable.
* you could AUX into them to play something that doesn't flow through an AppleTV or TV connection? "Dumb" speaker setups connected to a Receiver or AMP will give you all kinds of inputs so you can play anything on your best speakers... from ancient tech with no HDMI to future tech beyond today's HDMI.
* you could free up the Wifi "hogging" streaming anything eats? "Dumb" speakers don't need ANY wifi at all. Instead of a power cable running to each speaker and needing a socket, you connect with a thinner speaker wire cable (no socket dependencies).

But if you really want "smart" speakers, consider stuff like Sonos... which works just as well with Apple Music and Airplay but already comes with refined Dolby Digital expansion options, subwoofer, ethernet connection (option) to avoid wifi hogging AND works with many dozens of sources of music ('https://support.sonos.com/en-us/services') NATIVELY vs. only what Apple chooses to allow.

And those wishing for battery-based ones can find them too (see Move ('https://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/move') and Move 2 ('https://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/move-2')). If it's more about cheap price, there are abundant variations of cheap Bluetooth speakers that can sound very good... like this one ('https://a.co/d/hsObpZs') and this one ('https://a.co/d/3DtzaXr')... among many others. And if "spare no expense" (but less expensive than a single iPhone likely usable for only 3-5 years before you are buying again) is your thing, consider something like this ('https://a.co/d/b6M39e6').

I'm a near Apple everything guy but I very much embrace Receiver + "dumb" speakers for home theater and the Sonos options in rooms where a HP-like speaker seems best fit. Mac + iDevice + AppleTV Siri "smarts(?)" can control it all like HP... but it all has much more flexibility than the tight constraints on HPs within the walled garden.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MathersMahmood Avatar
8 months ago

How about fixing Siri first? HomePod is just a glorified wirelesss bluetooth speaker right now.
My God it’s so slow.

Hey siri pause

…………………

Literally 6 seconds go by and then it pauses. It’s stupid at this point and way too inconsistent.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)