HomePod 2 and HomePod mini: rumors about features,release dates and prices
By Linky Johnson 2019-06-15 1272 0
Want to know what Apple has up its sleeve about the next HomePod? In this article we analyze all the information and rumors related to the HomePod 2 and the next generation of Siri and the software that will improve the functions of the existing units.
These days there is a lot of talk on the net that Apple could launch a smaller and cheaper version of its smart speaker. There are also reports that a new HomePod with Face ID would arrive later this year, something we also analyzed.
New HomePod: release date
The HomePod was announced in June 2017 coinciding with the celebration of the WWDC, but it was not until February 2018 when the availability and sale became effective.
Thus, it seems unlikely that Apple will make technical changes to its new HomePod 2 loudspeaker edition. What does seem obvious and observing the movements of its competitors, Apple could offer a smaller and cheaper unit.
In March 2018, Economic Daily News, a Taiwanese publication, published a report with several predictions about Apple's product roadmap. Along with the new iPhone, iPad and MacBook, the website predicted that the new HomePod would be launched in the second half of 2018.
Obviously, the launch did not come true, but there have been many other rumors that a cheaper HomePod might be cooking in the company's ovens. Other Bloomberg sources say Apple is working on a new version.
As you know, Apple has recently presented the new AirPods 2, however, specifically on March 25 during the presentation that took place at the Steve Jobs Theatre in Cupertino. However, the new HomePod will have to wait for new announcements from the company, which could coincide with the celebration of the WWDC.
The event, whose initials in English correspond to the Worldwide Developers Conference, already has date of celebration, and it will be the week of the 4 to l8 of June of 2019 in the McEnergy Convention Center of San Jose (California), a center in which the company of Cupertino already has organized other editions previously, as it is the case of the year 2017.
What we can expect from the WWDC 2019
At the 2017 WWDC Apple announced new versions of iOS 11 and macOS 10.13 High Sierra, plus tvOS and watchOS updates. With this we want to indicate that it is a moment of the year in which the company announces important novelties related to its operating systems and the world of developers of the brand.
In this way, you don't need to be a genius to predict that at the 2019 WWDC there will be news about iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS updates. What is still impossible to know if these releases associated with software updates will be accompanied by releases of hardware devices as well.
If we take as an example what happened in 2018, and recently in the releases made last March 25, the company prefers to separate events and not mix software releases with new hardware releases.
New HomePod: Price
Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis believes that Apple will launch a cheaper HomePod in 2019 with which it will try to gain more market share since according to him, HomePod sales would have been disappointing with less than 5 million units sold.
The first-generation HomePod, available in white or space grey, currently costs 329 € at the Apple Store. It is generally to be expected that version 2 of an Apple product will cost the same, but rumours predict that it will be cheaper.
The Economic Daily News report, backed by Rosenblatt analyst Jun Zhang, said the new HomePod will cost between $150 and $200, about half the price of the current model.
An additional report in May 2018 suggested that the successor to the original HomePod would cost $150 (€133). There is also much to be said for the fact that some outlets and retailers have offered offers with discounts of up to €100 on the purchase price. This would indicate that the new one will cost much less.
New HomePod: Design
The new HomePod 2 could be smaller than the current model, in addition to being cheaper, as we have been anticipating. In this way, the new device would be called HomePod mini as the brand usually uses in other product areas.
However, other media are considering the possibility that Apple use the Beats brand of its speakers to associate it with the new product that drives Siri, marking differences with respect to its HomePod model.
Let's remember that the Beats brand has traditionally had a younger audience of followers. If you want to know how to control and operate your HomePod, check here the article we offer step by step.
New HomePod: New Features
When the original HomePod hit the market, it was criticized by users for not having certain features that competitors had (Amazon Echo or Google Home), as well as for Siri's limitations.
The HomePod software was updated at the same time as the launch of iOS 12 last September. The update provided us with new features for the smart speaker, which we will discuss in more detail below:
Make phone calls directly from your HomePod
Allows you to listen to voicemails on your HomePod
It is possible to dictate to the HomePod that finds the iPhone and plays sounds
Set more than one timer at the same time
Changing the Wifi network to which the HomePod is connected
Improved language support
Being able to transmit audio from FaceTime group calls
Search songs by lyrics
Activate Siri shortcuts via HomePod
It is to be hoped that Siri will bring news of improved usability, especially when it is handled by different people or members of a family. In fact, managing Siri through the HomePod should be able to recognize several accounts with separately recognized voices.
The lack of more language versions of Siri also suggests that Apple is facing certain challenges in developing its voice assistant. This could result in your HomePod not being able to be sold worldwide.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities says that if Apple wants to compete with Amazon and Google in the intelligent speaker market, the company needs to improve its voice wizard capabilities and increase language compatibility.
Finally, another major limitation are the Siri controls deployed on HomePod is to ensure greater compatibility of streaming music services, something that is supported by its competitors. Although you can use AirPlay to stream from Spotify, it does not offer full support.
Another potential feature could be Face ID support, something that was predicted for a couple of years, but has not yet become a reality. In addition, Apple has already transferred this security feature released with the iPhone to MacBook Pro computers.
The president of Inventec Appliances, Davie Ho, noted months ago that 'engineers are designing intelligent speakers that will not only come with speech recognition, but will also incorporate features such as face and image recognition.
These features, associated with artificial intelligence, are designed to make life easier for people and ensure greater usability. A previous version of the HomePod firmware suggested that Face ID could be used to authenticate personal requests.
See here how you can lock and protect notes on iPhone, iPad and Mac using Face ID.
Thanks to the face detection technologies built into the HomePod, the device will be able to recognize gestures made by the user from a distance. Therefore, it would be possible to tell the HomePod to increase the volume or stop playback with a single gesture.
Analyst Jeff Pu of Yuanta Investment Consulting predicted last year that Apple could launch HomePods with 3D camera sensors. Apple acquired PrimeSense in 2013, which is behind the motion tracking technology used by the Xbox 360.
In this way, the user could use various sensors and cameras to interact with the HomePod, interpreting gestures that you can deploy in the air. LEDs on the loudspeaker could also provide visual information as a reaction to gestures.
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