Apple's HomePod sounds fantastic, but the general criticism is that Siri's implementation leaves a lot to be desired.
Sales of the Amazon Echo and Google home appliances show there's a huge market for smart speakers, but Apple will certainly have to release a second generation of HomePod to compete with its rivals.
Here we check out what we want to see from a second generation of devices that could be direct replacements or could it be more affordable aftermarkets elsewhere in the house - how nice the rumors got this far and when a HomePod 2 or cheaper HomePod could be released.
- Best Apple HomePod Tips and Tricks: Plus How to Update Your HomePod
Apple HomePod 2 release date and price
- Cheaper model 2020
- I hope under 200
The Apple HomePod was released in early 2018 and costs $319, which is quite a bit more than the Amazon Echo and Google home alternatives it competes against.
The cheaper model will reportedly be revealed "early next year," but there's no word on how much it might cost. We are hoping for a sub £200model though.
Apple HomePod 2: what we want to see
This is a run down feature that we would like to see in Apple's next HomePod.
Recognizing different voices
It's coming to iOS 13 for HomePod, but we still want it now. According to Apple at WWDC, this feature will allow you to access your playlists, reminders and calendar based on your voice.
It will be great if you share your HomePod with others, and should mean that others in your home can't ruin their finely tuned musical taste with a watch of Disney classics.
It is a fact that Apple is currently occupying some of the high end of the smart speaker market. The problem is that, at present, smart sales speaker is powered by quantity - Google Home Mini for £29/$29 - type of deals, for example - not quality.
This is something that Apple will have to put up with. HomePod software being the best option, our homes can already be targeted either just by Amazon or Google. It's not a problem unique to Apple either - the mysterious and still-upcoming Samsung Galaxy House is also in the same position.
Apple seemed to try to suppress Bluetooth in early versions of iOS - it was really buried in the app's settings, perhaps because Apple wanted users to use their own twisted technologies. It doesn't seem like Bluetooth is front and center like it is in Android these days.
So it's a bit odd that the first HomePod doesn't support devices connected to it via Bluetooth, especially if you're into it - we know the HomePod actually has Bluetooth inside and uses that for the setup process. The lack of Bluetooth is very limited in many homes, especially when you consider the HomePod is a device designed for public spaces.
It's already rumored - the patent says that the upcoming HomePod will be controlled by gestures as an alternative to voice. We think it's probably going to be basic stuff like changing the volume or skipping to the next track.
This would be a much nicer approach rather than adding extra buttons.
The problem with Siri on the HomePod is that it's not licensed to fly - essentials are missing, such as Internet radio support only from the Apple Beats 1, and there's little doubt that Siri lags behind Google's assistant's flexibility and reliability, though and Amazon-centric Alexa.
Still, we have no doubt that Apple will get the right to Siri - after all, this is one of the most inventive companies we are talking about.
Spotify Connect service support
OK, so this falls into the "it'll never happen" category, but bear with us while we're dreaming of HomePod's best Spotify plug-in speaker in there.
However, with Apple clear that wants to push Apple Music, this is very unlikely. Apple doesn't mind having its services come to other devices though - Apple Music is now on Amazon Echo devices, for example.
Apple HomePod Mini
There is a Google Home mini. There is an Amazon Echo Dot. What about the best sounding speaker called HomePod mini? It could still be relatively premium - maybe $99/£99 or $129/£129 go up against Amazon Echo Plus?
While we don't think the HomePod has sold, what we can see is a reasonably priced (not necessarily cheap) HomePod would be just fine.
- Apple Watch Series 5: What We Want and Expect to See
Qi wireless charging
Still not from Apple, but we think it will be soon. Why isn't HomePod 2 wireless charging on top? The challenge - as with AirPower - is that it must be multi-coiled to not only charge Qi-enabled devices such as the iPhone XS, XS Max, X, 8, 8 Plus and XR, but also to charge Apple Watch and AirPods 2 as well.
HomePod as a surround sound system
You can already stereo pair HomePods, of course, but what if there was a HomePod mini as well as a subwoofer, and you could sync it all into the system to go with your Apple TV? Now there is such a thing.
Apple HomePod 2 rumors: what is allegedly coming?
Here's everything we've heard so far regarding the second generation of HomePod 2, including what's expected to arrive on the new speaker.
August 22, 2019: Bloomberg report data cheaper HomePod features
A Bloomberg report, written by Mark Gurman, says there are a handful of features expected to come to Apple's unreleased devices, including the cheaper HomePod.
According to Gurman: “Apple is also working on a cheaper HomePod for next year. The current $300 model doesn't sell very well. The new model will likely have two tweeters (like a loudspeaker) out of the seven in the current HomePod.”
February 8, 2019: Could the next generation of Apple HomePod feature gestures and Face ID?
A patent application suggests the next-gen HomePod could have facial recognition and gesture control.
As with all such patents that have come online after they lose sensitive information, it was originally submitted some time ago - in 2017 in this case. And while HomePod isn't mentioned at all, it's pretty clear what the patent is all about.
May 21, 2018: Apple's cheaper HomePod may carry branding beats
Apple's supply chain report, through the Chinese website Sina, has taken a cheaper version of the HomePod speaker can bear branding beats.
The report also said that Apple is in talks with MediaTek about producing a new model that will cost $199 when it goes on sale.
March 8, 2018: Smaller, cheaper HomePod Apple could be on the way
Taiwan Economic Daily and Mac Okatara both claimed that Apple planned to release a more affordable version of Siri with speaker support in the second half of 2018 for between $150 - $200. Of course, that never happened, but that doesn't mean it won't happen.