Is there an Apple HomePod 2 in the works? Early rumors say Apple isn’t done designing Siri-enabled smart home speakers, and that a new HomePod could arrive before the end of this year.
Even though Apple discontinued the original Apple HomePod, the newer Apple HomePod mini remains one of the best smart speakers you can buy. It sounds great for its size, and for $99, it introduced a more affordable way to start using HomeKit than previously offered.
But it’s been almost two years since the HomePod mini debuted, which makes us wonder when a refreshed version with updated features might launch. After all, if Apple wants to beat Amazon and Google in the smart home space, and emerge as a leading Matter member, offering in-house hardware is a must.
Here’s everything we know so far about the Apple HomePod 2, HomePod mini 2 or whatever Apple’s next Siri speaker will be called. We’ve gathered all the rumors out there about price and release date, plus what we want to see; we also consider what Apple’s latest HomeKit upgrades could mean for HomePod.
Apple HomePod 2: Possible release date and price
The HomePod mini came out in October 2020, then Apple added a trio of colorful options during an October 2021 product event. Before that, the first HomePod was announced at WWDC 2017.
So what does this tell us about the possible Apple HomePod 2 release date? We’re almost due for a new HomePod, whether it be later this year or sometime in 2023. Apple is back to bringing hardware to WWDC — it just launched the MacBook Air M2 and MacBook Pro 2022 with the Apple M2 chip — so the next HomePod could arrive at the next developer’s conference.
According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the HomePod 2 may be ready for Q4 2022 or Q1 2023. A launch alongside the iPhone 14, Apple Watch 8 and perhaps the AirPods Pro 2 ahead of the holiday season seems more likely. Plus Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported we’d see a new HomePod in 2022, though that tip was published more than a year ago.
As for the Apple HomePod 2 price, it will depend on the size and design. If it’s a direct follow-up to the HomePod mini, we expect it to maintain the $99 price tag. If it’s a larger speaker, perhaps with a display and better audio hardware, the price could fall closer to the Sonos One ($219) or original HomePod (originally $349, then $299.)
Apple HomePod 2: Design
Unlike the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch designs, which remain mostly the same year-to-year with the occasional big change, there’s not really an “established” HomePod design. The first HomePod was large and cylindrical, while the HomePod Mini is compact, round and features a flat top with colorful status lights.
The Apple HomePod 2 design might maintain a mostly-mesh exterior, but could also explore new form factors. There have been rumors of Apple planning to make one of the best smart displays, or a HomePod with a screen; however, Ming-Chi Kuo tweeted “there may not be much innovation in hardware design.”
Apple HomePod 2: Latest HomeKit upgrades
One sign Apple could be working on a next-gen HomePod is the continued improvements to HomeKit. At WWDC 2022 Apple showed off a refreshed version of the HomeKit app in iOS 16, promising “faster, more reliable performance.”
From what we saw demoed during the keynote, HomeKit-compatible devices seem better organized in the updated app. There’s quick access for frequently-used devices, and a new multi-cam view for seeing feeds from all the best security cameras in your home at once. You can also customize the icons and icon colors of each of your connected products. It’s easier to give kids control to select HomeKit devices, too.
Apple HomePod 2: What we want to see
There are a handful of Apple HomePod 2 wish-list upgrades we’ve come up with based on what’s missing from the HomePod mini, and what we like about other smart speakers. Here’s what we want to see from the HomePod 2.
Display and/or camera: What if the next HomePod could challenge the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) or Google Nest Hub Max? Not only would adding a display to the speaker create an accessible smart home control center, but it would make video chatting from the kitchen or other central home location a breeze. We don’t even think such a device would need iPadOS — just basic Apple apps on-board like Apple Music, Podcasts and FaceTime.
Portability: If it doesn’t have a display, we’d like to see the HomePod 2 have a wireless or portable option with a built-in battery. Similar to the Sonos Roam or Bose Portable Home Speaker, the next HomePod could double as one of the best Bluetooth speakers. Of course, it’ll need to offer substantial durability and battery life to be suitable for outdoor use.
Support for third-party music streaming services: The one thing we’d change about the current HomePod is its compatibility with third-party streaming services (or lack thereof.) While Apple Music is one of the best music streaming services, we also like Spotify, Tidal, Pandora, iHeartRadio and more. You can technically send most audio from your iPhone to a HomePod speaker via AirPlay, but it would be nice to ask Siri to play an exclusive Spotify podcast trouble-free.