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Apple Working on Cheaper HomePod (Report)

Demand for the new HomePod has reportedly been "mediocre" so far, and it's not just because Apple's speaker can damage your furniture. At $349, the premium gadget is priced considerably higher than competing smart speakers, such as the $99 Amazon Echo and $199 Sonos One.

Now, Apple is said to be working on a new HomePod that could save you some cash over the original model.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The tech giant is currently developing a new version of its HomePod wireless speaker that could cost between $150 and $200, Taiwan's Economic Daily News is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of Apple's plans. The report says Apple is also working on a cheaper version of its MacBook Air that could cost $800.

Launched last month, the HomePod is a small wireless speaker that produces impressive sound. It's capable of playing the music you have playing on your iPhone and works with Apple's virtual personal assistant Siri. With Siri's help, you can issue voice commands to turn on different songs and control smart home devices, among other features.

While the HomePod has earned solid reviews for its sound quality, the device has been criticized for a high $349 price tag that makes it substantially more expensive than competing alternatives.

MORE: Apple HomePod Review: Great Sound, But Siri Needs Work

Apple hasn't said so far how many HomePod units it's sold and whether $349 is a barrier for some customers. But the company's apparent work on a new version of its HomePod suggests that it's aware of some potential cost concerns. And by working on a cheaper model, it might be able to attract more shoppers.

However, in order to get down to $150 to $200, Apple will likely need to make some changes to the HomePod. For one, its speaker quality could take a hit, since that's believed to be among the most expensive components. It's also possible that Apple could ditch the touchpad at the top of the HomePod to save a few bucks.

For its part, Apple hasn't confirmed that it's actually working on a new HomePod. However, if Apple is working on a new model, we could see it as soon as this year.

Don Reisinger is a communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter who has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine and The New York Times, as well as Tom's Guide.