Could Apple’s full-sized smart speaker be making a comeback? Here’s everything you need to know about the rumoured HomePod 2.
In March 2021, Apple broke the news that it’d be discontinuing its HomePod smart speaker line. The cancellation came just months after the launch of the HomePod Mini, the company’s smaller (and significantly cheaper) Siri-powered speaker.
Now, we’re hearing whispers the HomePod could be back on the scene – this time as a potential rival to Amazon’s display-toting Echo Show.
Read on to discover everything you need to know about the Apple HomePod 2, including how much it could cost, when it will launch and all the latest leaks detailing the specs and features…
When will the HomePod 2 be released?
The original HomePod was announced at WWDC 2017 but didn’t hit shelves until February 2018. The speaker was followed up by the HomePod Mini at the end of 2020, which led to the full-sized HomePod being discontinued at the beginning on the following year.
All hope of another full-sized speaker was seemingly gone, until recently when rumours started to emerge of an Apple HomePod 2 in 2022.
Apple is hosting its spring launch event on March 8, meaning we could potentially see the smart speaker surprise us with an appearance. However, there has been little mention of the HomePod in regards to this event, it seems more likely we’ll see a launch later down the line.
How much will the HomePod 2 cost?
The HomePod was priced £329 at launch, but dropped to £279 in 2019. While pretty much all stock of the smart speaker has diminished over the last year, you can still find a handful of second-hand and refurbished devices online.
The HomePod Mini is much easier to get your hands on and carries a more affordable RRP of £89.
While we wouldn’t expect a HomePod 2 as cheap as the Mini, we can see it being more affordable than its predecessor, which was criticised for being too expensive. The cost could fall more in line with that of the Dolby Atmos-supporting Echo Studio – a smart speaker Amazon markets at £189.99.
What will the HomePod 2 look like?
The first HomePod was a large, cylindrical speaker wrapped in a seamless mesh fabric with a backlit touch surface on top where the Siri and volume/playback controls lived. The Mini retained the same aesthetic and acoustic design, but was smaller, curved and came in a variety of eye-catching colours.
The biggest leak we’ve seen was actually let slip by Siri herself. According to a post on Reddit (via ScreenRant), the voice assistant has been telling users the answers to their queries are “displayed on your HomePod”. Considering no HomePod thus far has actually included a display, it seems this could only refer to a future Apple speaker.
Previous rumours have also hinted at a HomePod with a screen in a way that is visually similar to an iPad in a stand, making the HomePod 2 sound like a true rival to Amazon’s Echo Show smart display.
As far as other design updates go, we’d like to see Apple shave a few grams off its next large speaker as the original HomePod was pretty heavy at 2.5kg.
We also hope Apple will reconsider the design of the capacitive power cable as this has required the entire speaker to be sent back for repair when it broke on previous models.
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What features will the HomePod 2 have?
The original HomePod was powered by Apple’s A8 processor, which launched back in 2014 so we’d hope for a big update in this area.
It’ll more likely have the U1 chip to enable Ultra Wide Band (UWB). UWB is already found in the HomePod Mini and is a feature that allows different iOS products to communicate and transfer data and location tracking information between each other.
With the HomePod Mini, for example, when it comes in close proximity to an iPhone, audio can be handed off quickly between the two. The HomePod 2 could act as a hub within the house much like the Mini does, tying all the iOS devices in the home together.
The original HomePod and the Mini were both capable of recognising up to six members of a household, so we’d expect the HomePod 2 to do the same.
The Mini has an Intercom feature which allows users with multiple speakers to communicate within a house (or out into a car) via voice messages, so we’d expect to see this present on the full-sized HomePod.
Another new feature we’d like to see on the new HomePod is automatic stereo pairing. We imagine it would if you wanted to have left/right channels connected to a TV (or perhaps paired with an Apple TV box), although we can’t imagine how that would work specifically, so perhaps the feature would work for music only.
We also hope to see support for more music services introduced. Apple added Amazon Music and Pandora support to the Mini, so we’d expect the same rules to apply to a second gen HomePod.