When Apple announced the discontinuation of the first HomePod last year, it raised a few concerns. Although the company’s flagship smart speaker was four years old at the time, it was still one of the finest wireless speakers available. Furthermore, Apple has yet to announce a replacement.
The tech giant said at the time that it had opted to concentrate on sales of the smaller, less expensive HomePod Mini. However, based on leaked Apple patents and rumours of a battery-powered HomePod, it seems that the firm is preparing to release a new, full-size speaker named ‘HomePod 2’. We believe that it is better to be ‘late’ than never.
The HomePod 2 has yet to be confirmed by Apple, although it’s possible that it may be unveiled in 2022. Hopefully, it will support Apple Music Lossless. Here’s everything we know about Apple’s forthcoming smart speaker so far, as well as the features we’d want to see…
Apple HomePod 2: when will it be released?
At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2017, the firm unveiled its first smart speaker, the now-discontinued HomePod. It then released the diminutive HomePod Mini in October 2020, which was updated in October 2022 with additional colours.
Apple usually releases new audio devices once a year, but it’s hard to say when the new HomePod 2 will be released. The HomePod 2 is expected to be released in 2022, according to most industry experts. In a Bloomberg article, for example, writer Mark Gurman reported that “the firm had been working on an upgraded version for delivery in 2022 before the retirement of the bigger HomePod.”
There was the anticipation of a surprise HomePod 2 announcement during Apple’s Unleashed event on October 18th, but it never happened. Instead, Apple gave out a new MacBook Pro with a ‘game-changing’ Spatial Audio sound system to tech enthusiasts.
In January 2022, Apple announced that the Beats Pill+, the company’s final surviving Bluetooth speaker, had been discontinued. More rumours about a new Apple speaker arose as a result of the revelation.
Apple HomePod 2: price
There’s no news on how much the Apple HomePod 2 will cost, but if it’s a full-size speaker like its predecessor, it’ll be about £319 ($349, AU$499). We wouldn’t anticipate it to be farther north than that. After all, Apple reduced the original HomePod’s price to £279 ($299/AU$379) in 2019 in response to consumer outcry over its high price. (If you’re looking for a HomePod or HomePod Mini, check out today’s best HomePod and HomePod Mini bargains.)
The HomePod Mini is a baseball-sized speaker that costs £99 ($99, AU$149) and performs well for the price. But there’s no denying it: Apple’s HomePod’s failure has left the company without a response against bigger, more powerful smart speakers like the Amazon Echo Studio and Sonos One.
Apple HomePod 2: design
Apple HomePod 2: design Apple HomePod 2: price, release date, features, and the latest news Apple HomePod 2: price, release date, features, and the latest news
The original HomePod is a wonderfully made gadget with thoughtfully positioned tweeters and subwoofers that give both detail and control. It’s a little heavier than some may expect at 2.5kg, but we couldn’t discover any flaws with the design.
Apple selected the same seamless cloth mesh to cover the HomePod Mini since the design of the 2017 HomePod was so successful. Siri appears as a moving ball of colour on the two speakers’ glossy top panels, which are completely black while the speaker is resting.
So, how might Apple make the HomePod better than it already is? According to reports, the corporation is considering repurposing its next smart speaker as an Apple soundbar. For those who wish to utilise a single speaker with their TV more realistically, a HomePod that can function horizontally as well as vertically would be ideal.
Others speculate that it might have both voice commands and a built-in display and camera (via Bloomberg). We wouldn’t say no to gesture controls that enable on-unit control without touching the touchpad, and we wouldn’t say no to a built-in battery and consequent mobility, similar to the Sonos Move (though this is definitely a reach for a HomePod design at this time!)
We’d take such rumours with a grain of salt since there haven’t been any substantial leaks surrounding them yet.
Features of the Apple HomePod 2
Because we haven’t seen any genuine HomePod 2 leaks, the following is more of a wish list of features we’d want to see in Apple’s next smart speaker.
Let’s begin with a more powerful CPU. The original HomePod is powered by Apple’s A8 CPU, which was quite powerful at the time of its release but has now been much outstripped by newer Apple chips. With any hope, the A14 Bionic chip discovered in the 2020 iPhone 12 or possibly the A15 Bionic chip found in the 2021 iPhone 13 will be used in the HomePod 2.
Any future HomePod is also likely to have Apple’s U1 processor, which is featured in the existing HomePod Mini and AirPods Max headphones. The U1 allows for speedier data transmission across Apple devices as well as a handy ‘Intercom’ function on the HomePod Mini.
According to this Bloomberg rumour, the next HomePod might be the first to have a camera. FaceTiming from the couch would be a lot less of a problem. There are even rumours of Apple adding a ‘depth-sensing’ camera to the iPhone, which might allow gesture controls or the ability to determine the listener’s location in the room and optimise 3D audio (specifically Apple spatial audio) appropriately.
Apple attempted desperately to make the HomePod function better with the Apple TV video streamer, even offering a ‘Home Theater’ option in 2020, but the idea never came together. We’d anticipate a HomePod 2 to support Dolby Atmos and function smoothly with the Apple TV 4K (2021) box, given that Amazon’s Echo Studio supports it and Apple Music will include Atmos-powered songs starting in June.
Because the newest Apple streamer has eARC HDMI compatibility, an HDMI input (or perhaps an HDMI broadcaster) would be useful – particularly if the HomePod can function in both horizontal and vertical positions. We’d want to be able to combine HomePods and HomePod Minis for a surround sound system with surround format decoding and all that jazz.
When it comes to music streaming, the original HomePod is essentially Apple Music-only. It doesn’t have Bluetooth, and you can’t use it without an iOS smartphone to set it up. Could Apple widen its horizons by allowing Spotify, Tidal, and Amazon Music HD to stream music via the HomePod 2? We certainly hope so.
Apple introduced the Apple Music Voice Plan in October 2021, which gives a half-price membership if you solely use Siri voice control. The low-cost Voice Plan is accessible on all Siri-enabled devices, including the iPhone 13, AirPods 3, and HomePod Mini, so the HomePod 2 should be included.
We anticipate the HomePod 2 to set the bar for wireless speaker sound, with high-quality music streaming services gaining traction and Apple Music already delivering CD-quality, hi-res lossless, and Dolby Atmos-powered spatial audio files. (Here’s a list of current devices that support lossless and spatial audio.)
When it comes to smart home technology, we already know that the HomePod Mini includes a temperature sensor concealed within, implying that Apple has great intentions to improve its smart home game. When your room becomes too hot, might the HomePod 2 turn on a fan? Or give you an iPhone notice when the baby’s room is too cold?
Apple HomePod 2: sound
In our HomePod review from 2018, we stated it was “the best-sounding smart speaker”… and that hasn’t changed. We gave it five stars because it “delivers the spirit of anything you play… from Bach to Band of Horses, Bonobo to Bob Marley,” as we put it.
We fully anticipate Apple to include the HomePod’s outstanding acoustic capabilities into the HomePod 2 – along with a few tweaks. Apple has a history of pulling expansive, rich, and melodic audio from practically any gadget, whether it’s a pair of AirPods Max headphones or an iPhone 13, so any new smart speaker should provide a high, if not class-leading, level of performance. Especially if it’ll be more expensive than Amazon’s and Sonos’ closest competitors.
Our sole performance issue of the HomePod is that it gets a bit muddy in the most packed areas, with other competitors (like the Ultimate Ears Megablast) being able to give a little more clarity in their organisation. Fingers hope that this is one area where a sequel will improve.
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Apple HomePod 2: early verdict
At this time, the Apple HomePod 2 is only a rumour, but with Apple exhibiting a strong commitment to high-quality and spatial 3D music through Apple Music, a new high-end smart speaker might be on the way.
HomePod 2 might also serve as a showcase for Siri’s most recent iteration, allowing Apple to take centre stage in your smart home. It seems like we will have to wait to find out…