Apple has only just launched the HomePod 2, but already there's word of a follow-up. The next HomePod will feature a 7-inch screen and work as a hub for your smart home, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Kuo posted on Medium that Chinese company Tianma will make the 7-inch screen. The new HomePod "could enable tighter integration with Apple's other hardware products, marking a significant shift in the company's smart home strategy", Kuo writes.
He reckons it will launch early in 2024.
It sounds a lot like the Amazon Echo Show, which is basically a smart speaker with a screen. Previous reports have mentioned an Apple device that can be wall-mounted to work as a smart home hub, sort of like a big iPad. Apple is likely exploring the ground between those two concepts and perhaps looking to add Apple TV functionality to the mix.
Apple's most recent HomePod looks nigh-on identical to the original smart speaker, which was discontinued in 2021, bar a couple of minor changes. So the addition of a screen would be a major change of direction.
It would also help to differentiate it from Sonos, whose new Era 300 speaker looks like a real rival to the HomePod 2. Apple offers a far wider range of devices than Sonos, so making them more compatible with one another seems like a no-brainer. Launching a HomePod with a screen could well be the most direct route to smart home dominance.
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