The Apple HomePod has only been available for about a month, and it’s currently only available in the UK, US and Australia, but that hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from churning and saying a new, cheaper model of Apple’s smart speaker will be out later this year.
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The Taiwanese Economic Daily and Mac Okatara (via MacRumours) both claim that Apple plans to launch a more affordable version of the Siri-enabled speaker in the second half of 2018 for between $150 – $200.
No other information is given, such as how the cheaper speaker will be different to the current model, but it’s believed Apple will release more affordable versions of all its products this year: a new MacBook Air, a 5th generation iPad and a 6.1-inch LCD version of the iPhone X. The new HomePod will join them in a bid to entice customers.
We have to say, we’re a little sceptical of this rumour. With the HomePod only being available in three countries so far, and multi-room support not coming until later in the year, it seems awfully soon for Apple to release a second model. We don’t necessarily doubt that Apple is looking at ways to release a cheaper model at some point, to compete with the likes of the Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot, but to do it so soon seems unlikely.
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Also, the HomePod, while more expensive than its rivals from Google and Amazon, is more geared up for music and as a result, sounds a lot better. Will Apple possibly compromise on sound quality in the name of a more affordable model? Again, unlikely. So for now, we’re taking this one with a large pinch of salt.