Apple is expected to launch a smaller, lower-priced HomePod at next week’s online launch, fueling speculation that a second-generation HomePod could also arrive. But this morning, Apple’s serial leaker, l0vetodream, poured cold water on the idea, saying there would be no “HomePod 2” on sale this year.
Earlier this year, Apple began allowing employees to buy up to 10 HomePods at a 50 percent discount, up from two previous limits. Some observers have said the larger purchase limit could be part of Apple’s efforts to clean up its current HomePod inventory before launching new models.
Apple may continue to sell its current HomePod with smaller, more affordable versions, but it may cut future supply orders for high-end models, which are reported to be under-sold. Apple has never disclosed sales of the HomePod, instead classifying it as a “wearable, home and accessories” category, but the price of the speaker is considered its biggest obstacle.
Apple launched the HomePod in February 2018 for $349, but then dropped it to $299 in April 2019. HomePod also has several low-cost rivals for the smart assistant, including Amazon’s fourth-generation Echo ($90) and the recently announced Google Nest ($90).
Apple has been steadily improving the usefulness of the HomePod, adding Handoff support, multi-user voice detection, ambient sound and multi-room audio. Apple is also expected to add third-party music support to HomePod in future software updates. The latter feature would presumably allow Spotify and other music services to be set as the default music service, allowing users to specify “with Spotify” at the end of the request to require Siri to stream music.
As for Apple’s rumoured smaller HomePod, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg says the new speakers could include two tweeters instead of the current model’s seven.