Top analyst says that Apple will try again with the HomePod

Apple never was able to hit a home run in the smart speaker market. The company’s HomePod was pricey at $349 when it was released in February 2018. Eventually Apple cut the price by $50 to $299, but that still wasn’t enough for Apple to gain some traction. Eventually, Apple released the HomePod mini in November 2020 priced at $99 to compete with the smaller and cheaper models made by 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 during the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of next year. This model will be larger than the HomePod mini but Apple will cut corners with several of the features in order to keep the price under $300.

Another possibility is a new version of the HomePod mini. Either way, 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 that Apple has yet to figure out a way where it can be successful in this market.

Where Apple made its mistake with the HomePod was to build it with audio capabilities well beyond other smart speakers. But making a device too premium can backfire, especially when it comes to price. Apple didn’t grasp who was the target buyer of smart speakers figuring out that it was audiophiles willing to pay big bucks for high quality sound. But the company won’t be making the same mistake according to Kuo. Apple also needs to improve Siri especially because a digital assistant is such an essential part of a smart speaker.

At present, Siri trails both Google Assistant and Alexa when it comes to intelligence, comprehension, and according to many phone enthusiasts, looks. 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 inside the house. And the HomePod mini could be used in smaller rooms where the huge speaker size of the original model is not required.

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