Apple Is Working On A New HomePod With Unexpected Features

Four years after Apple released its first-ever smart speaker — the first generation Apple HomePod — the company seems to be readying a much-improved, feature-packed successor. Initial reports indicate the upcoming smart speaker will have additional features one doesn't typically associate with smart speakers. According to Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, Apple's new HomePod will be a completely new product from the ground up. The model will also, most likely, be the centerpiece of the company's future home-focused products.

Gurman revealed his thoughts on the upcoming HomePod via his latest Power On newsletter. He believes the new model will combine the features of the HomePod, an Apple TV, and a FaceTime camera. He also indicates that Apple has no plans to refresh the existing HomePod Mini with a new model anytime soon. In fact, he hints at the possibility of the HomePod Mini being an accessory to an entirely new ecosystem of home-centric Apple products that are reportedly in the making.

The sequel would arrive years after the first HomePod

This is not the first time Gurman has talked about Apple's plans for a revamped HomePod sporting a camera for video calling features. In 2021, he claimed Apple was working on a HomePod-like product that would also combine the elements of an Apple TV box, which gave it the ability to control video playback and gaming. This is apart from the standard smart speaker features like using Siri for search queries and controlling music playback. Back then, Apple was reportedly very early in the development of the product, and there were chances of the company either giving the product up completely or refining it further to ensure it didn't meet the same fate as the first-generation HomePod.

The original HomePod, which was first announced in 2017, was riddled with issues right from day one. Initially intended to be on sale beginning in December 2017, Apple had to postpone the launch to February 2018. When the product did eventually hit shelves, its $349 price tag put off many users. Even though the product received rave reviews for its excellent sound quality, people did not think that factor alone was enough to command such a premium price tag. The company finally discontinued it on March 12, 2021.

The HomePod was eventually succeeded by the much smaller, less expensive HomePod Mini, which was launched in late 2020. This model saw greater success than the original HomePod, and Apple continues to sell it. It remains to be seen how different a product the upcoming Apple HomePod will eventually turn out to be, but the even bigger question is if Apple will even market the upcoming device as a HomePod.