A new leak suggests that the next special Apple Event, set for next Tuesday, October 13, will certainly unveil the iPhone 12 in several sizes. But it also looks like other products will be revealed, including a new HomePod smart speaker.
But it’s not the replacement for the current model, according to a new claim from leaker @L0vetodream who tweeted in the last few hours, saying “There is no HomePod2 this year, only have mini one”.
The HomePod, as you’ll know, is a smart speaker with exceptionally good audio quality, though in the time since its launch in February 2018, some analysts have reported that sales were disappointing.
Perhaps it’s down to the price tag – $349 at launch, and a bit cheaper at $299 now. That still leaves it noticeably pricier than many other smart speakers out there. Though if you ask me, the only one that comes close in terms of audio is the Amazon Echo Studio, which costs almost $100 less, it’s $199.99.
So, a HomePod mini might be expected to have a significantly lower price tag, thus opening up the market and making it more accessible to a wider audience.
The big question will be whether the HomePod mini, if that’s what Apple calls it, can match the sonic excellence of the bigger version. Well, given the emphasis that Apple put on audio in the first place, stressing repeatedly that they didn’t want to make a smart speaker unless it sounded amazing, my guess is that that will still be a priority with this successor.
I’d also guess that it will sit in the range alongside the HomePod, and will connect with HomePods to create a multi-room speaker system. Of course, you won’t be able to pair a HomePod and a HomePod Mini as a stereo couple, I don’t think, though doubtless two Minis will work together.
If the leaker is right and we see a HomePod Mini revealed next Tuesday, Apple will be releasing it at a time of really significant competition. Latest arrivals include the splendid Google Nest Audio – a speaker so dedicated to sound quality that it’s part of its name – which sells for $99. A new speaker from Apple is likely to cost more than that.
Recent reports that speakers and headphones from third-party brands have been removed from Apple Store shelves add to the perception that a new speaker (and perhaps Apple AirPods Studio over-ear headphones) are about to be announced.
Not long to wait, now…
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