Will Apple announce a new HomePod on Sept. 15? Here’s what we’ve heard

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Tyler Lizenby / Tips Clear

Apples HomePod debuted in 2018. It had a price of $ 349, good sound and the risk of putting white rings on your tabletop. Since then, despite some nice iterations of the HomePod’s functions, regular software updates have not made much progress in the smart home, even if Amazon and Google continue to expand their target groups Alexa and Google assistant Products across the board.

However, Apple is not giving up the HomePod, according to a Bloomberg report in April. Apple plans to release a smaller and cheaper HomePod this year, according to “people familiar with the plans”. The details are few, but sources say the new HomePod will be about half the size of the original. It keeps the same design, just on a smaller scale.

Apple did not announce the new speaker at its global online developer conference in June as expected and with the announcement of one September 15th virtual event from Apple ParkRumors of a possible HomePod Mini are circulating again. Apple analyst and YouTube creator Rene Ritchie included the HomePod Mini in his predictions for the event. A report from Bloomberg also recommends a new HomePod for an October release.

Continue reading:: Here’s how to watch the Apple event on September 15th

Price premonitions

There’s no word on price for the second-generation HomePod, but a smaller size probably means a lower price, too. This is the biggest step Apple can take to compete with the hugely popular and often $ 50 for sale Amazon Echo Dot and Google Nest Mini Speaker. Since introducing the HomePod, Apple has cut the price of its smart speaker from its original $ 349 to $ 299 sells regularly for $ 199. In the last few months Reports in circulation Apple is offering its employees a 50% discount on the HomePod with a limit of 10 per employee (from just two). Could these price cuts indicate a stock clearance?

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The popular small smart speakers from Google and Amazon are dominating the market.

Chris Monroe / Tips Clear

New Apple patents

There are also rumors about Apple’s patent application for a “Fabric-Covered Electronic Device with Touch Sensor” in 2019. The abstract description of the patent reads:

An electronic device such as a loudspeaker device may have a curved housing characterized by a vertical longitudinal axis. A layer of fabric can cover the curved housing. A touch sensor can be used to detect touch input on the tissue layer. The touch sensor may include capacitive touch sensor electrodes including drive lines and sense lines.

It also describes light-emitting components to mark where touch sensors are located. This differs significantly from the solid plastic top of the current HomePod and is similar to the current touch fabric design of the Nest Mini.

Even with a sleeker design and better price, Apple still has smart home challenges to overcome. Apple’s narrow selection of music streaming services and shorter list of compatible smart home products make it difficult to sell for anyone who isn’t exclusively Appleverse.

Siri is still a problem

Then there is the problem of Siri as an assistant. Compared to the constantly evolving and personable voice assistants from Google and Amazon, Siri falls short. Interactions only feel less naturaland often simple inquiries are not processed as seamlessly as Google or Alexa. We spent hours with all three and realized that there are Some things Siri just can’t.

Whether it’s rumors or fanboy wish lists, a continuation of the HomePod would surely require a combination of broader support for music services and serious Siri upgrades – in addition to this supposed price cut – for smart home savvy buyers to get the Apple speakers get a second look.

Bonus rumor: Apple AirTags

If the possibility of continuing the HomePod doesn’t raise your eyebrows, there are other Apple products set to debut this year. In addition to the perennial Rumor has it Apple TV upgradeApple may also get into the tracker game with a product supposedly called AirTags or Apple Tags. According to Bloomberg’s sources, the tags allow users to keep track of items like wallets or keys, similar to how they did with the Tile tracker You can buy today. MacRumors also pointed to a mention of AirTags in an Apple support video (subsequently deleted) and screenshots shared with the website depicting AirTag setup.

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The annual Worldwide Developers Conference will take place virtually at Apple Park in Cupertino, California this year and will be virtual this year.

James Martin / Tips Clear

Even if these products are next available for Apple, Coronavirus-related delays can mean a later publication. The Wall Street Journal reported a delay in Apple’s production of the latest iPhone in April. As production across Asia has been hit hard and consumers spend less on items with large tickets, this delay could extend to other Apple products like the HomePod or AirTags.

Last year there were reports that Apple was expanding its HomeKit team and preparing for new products. That gave us hope that Apple would have renewed interest in the connected home. If Apple is actually planning to break into the smart home, it really should start with an upgraded HomePod. Stay tuned for Tips Clear’s coverage of Tuesday’s event for all things Apple.

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