Top analyst says Apple will try again with the HomePod

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Apple has never been able to make a home run in the smart speaker market. The company’s HomePod was pricey at $349 when it released in February 2018. In the end, Apple lowered the price by $50 to $299, but that still wasn’t enough for Apple to gain some traction. Finally, in November 2020, Apple released the HomePod mini, priced at $99 to compete with the smaller and cheaper models from Amazon and Google.

The HomePod is gone, but not forgotten. Reliable analyst Ming Chi Kuo’ said in a tweet (via 9to5Mac) that Apple will release a new version of the smart speaker sometime in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of next year. This model will be bigger than the HomePod mini, but Apple will cut back on several features to keep the price below $300.

Another possibility is a new version of the HomePod mini. Regardless, Kuo says not to expect much of a change in hardware design. The analyst specifically said, “There may not be much innovation in hardware design.” Kuo also says that while smart speakers are “undoubtedly one of the essential elements of the home ecosystem,” he believes Apple has yet to figure out a way for it to succeed in this market.

True Apple made the mistake of building the HomePod with audio capabilities that go way beyond other smart speakers. But making a device too premium can backfire, especially when it comes to price. Apple didn’t understand who the intended buyer of smart speakers was, who found out that they were audiophiles willing to pay big bucks for high-quality sound. But according to Kuo, the company will not make the same mistake. Apple also needs to improve Siri, especially since a digital assistant is such an essential part of a smart speaker.

At the moment, Siri follows both Google Assistant and Alexa when it comes to intelligence, understanding and, according to many phone enthusiasts, appearance. If Apple can develop a new and improved HomePod, it will help the company create a smart speaker that would be great for the living room and other large rooms in the house. And the HomePod mini could be used in smaller rooms where the massive speaker size of the original model isn’t required.

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