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Apple’s HomePod has sold reasonably well since its introduction earlier this year, but it’s certainly not set the world alight. A new report suggests Apple is planning a cheaper version of its smart speaker in an attempt to corner more of a market largely dominated by Amazon Echo and Google Home.
The response to the HomePod was mixed: on the one hand, its audio quality is far superior to every other smart speaker out there, even giving much pricier audiophile setups a run for their money. Also praised was Apple’s dedication to privacy in a world where Amazon and Google absorb every last bit of personal data they can in order to sell you things.
However, the actual smarts of the smart speaker took a back seat, with most reviewers commenting that Siri on HomePod lags some way behind the competition. It’s also worth noting that HomePod is at its best when used alongside iOS devices and an Apple Music subscription – those who use other streaming services may be a little disappointed by its capabilities.
Mixed reviews, combined with a hefty $349/£319 price tag, meant Apple struggled to appeal to the lower end of the market. That could be set to change, though, if this latest rumor holds water. It’s said the next version of HomePod will offer the same basic features for less than $200 – presumably by dialing down the sound quality a little. We imagine it would still outshine the Echo.
The report also suggests that Apple could utilize its Beats branding for the new device, which could help appeal to a younger generation of users. If true, our money’s on the name BeatsPod.
Would you be tempted by a cheaper HomePod? We’ll be sure to let you know when more concrete details emerge.