According to a Weibo user 'Kang' (via MacRumors) Apple's next home audio device is in fact called HomePod Mini and will ship mid-November. It will also cost just $99, which is $250 less than the original.
Although this potential new HomePod name and price have been floated previously, reputable leaker IceUniverse called the Weibo post "the most comprehensive and accurate product information" they've seen so far.
Breaking! Probably the most comprehensive and accurate product information for the iPhone 12 conference so far, from Weibo @ kang pic.twitter.com/pn37QOTJykOctober 9, 2020
The Weibo post adds that the HomePod Mini will be 3.3 inches tall. The original HomePod measured a towering 6.8 inches, by comparison. It appears the HomePod Mini's size falls halfway between that of the cylindrical Amazon Echo (3rd Gen) and Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen), while adopting the price of Amazon's mid-range flagship.
Though the Mini name might suggest a price similar to the $49 Google Nest Mini, it similarly seems primed to compete with the new Google Nest Audio, another $99 option and one of the best smart speakers we've tested this year.
The other question will be if Apple is making Siri any smarter. While Apple's assistant is good at ordering food, sending messages and getting directions, it's behind Alexa and Google Assistant in smart home skills, general knowledge, online shopping and more.
That said, we've seen Apple take strides to improve its HomeKit platform, growing our list of the best HomeKit compatible devices and making smart home device set up a breeze.
We're also curious to see if the HomePod Mini will have the same silicone base as the original HomePod, which damaged our furniture when we reviewed it.
Still, Apple has some catching up to do when it comes to making Siri a household name, rather than a smartphone one. If this new HomePod is actually launching at the October 13 Apple Event, we should learn more very soon.