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Apple has a smart speaker lined up for the iPhone 12 event, but it’s not the HomePod 2

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It’s probably safe to say that the HomePod hasn’t been Apple’s most successful product of the last few years, which explains why the company never released a sequel for its first-gen smart speaker. 

But AirPower wireless charging mat notwithstanding, the Cupertino-based tech giant is not one to throw in the towel after just one unpopular edition of an otherwise promising device. Certainly not as the market continues growing, dominated by its pioneer and most active global player.

Bargain hunters, rejoice

If you were hoping to see not one but two upgraded Siri-controlled smart speakers in stores this holiday season, an increasingly reliable Twitter leaker is here to crush your dreams, claiming the HomePod 2 will not happen “this year.” Instead, Apple is likely to focus exclusively on providing competition for Amazon and Google in the budget-friendly segment with a HomePod Mini version of sorts.
It almost goes without saying that the name is not carved in stone yet, and we also don’t know if the intention here is to rival the likes of the ultra-low-cost Nest Mini and Echo Dot or the slightly larger and pricier fourth-gen “regular” Echo and Nest Audio.

 

Since this is Apple we’re talking about, it seems highly unlikely that the HomePod Mini will be priced as low as $50, so it’s probably more realistic to hope for a $100 tag and a fitting list of features.
Unfortunately, said features are almost entirely cloaked in secrecy, although Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman did predict a “similar design” as the original model and a considerably more compact body way back in April. Specifically, the HomePod Mini could end up being “about half the size” of its premium forerunner, which will obviously impact the audio setup, presumably leading to a drastic downgrade in sound quality.

Fret not, the HomePod 2 could be coming relatively soon as well

Keep in mind that the OG smart speaker made its commercial debut nearly three years ago at $349, permanently dropping to $300 more than 12 months into its Google Home Max-rivaling run and scoring additional discounts at multiple major US retailers both before and after April 2019.

While Apple probably never expected to challenge the overall shipment numbers of Amazon and Google, which often sell their cheapest smart speakers at ridiculously low prices or outright give them away for free, the HomePod is unlikely to have met even the humblest initial goals of its manufacturers.
Estimated to have sold no more than 3 million units worldwide during its first six months or so of availability back in 2018, the one and only Siri-enabled smart speaker out there jumped in popularity in Q4 2019 before losing traction once again this year. As of Q2 2020, Apple is not ranked among the global top five vendors, but that’s a position the company could easily regain by releasing an affordable HomePod Mini in time for the holidays.

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