This week, Apple launched a new HomePod, wittily called HomePod 2nd Generation. But contrary to previous reports, rumors of a new HomePod mini 2nd Generation is incorrect.
That’s according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter, which today says no such product is in development, he believes.
This is interesting because as recently as last August, Gurman himself said that he thought Apple was considering launching an updated HomePod mini. On the other hand, at that point Gurman made no mention of a new regular HomePod—something he predicted was coming just a few days ago and which he describes in his newsletter as being part of “Apple’s January surprise”.
Gurman’s argument is that there are no new features in the larger HomePod which aren’t found in the smaller one. At least in terms of function. It’s highly likely that the new HomePod will continue to have outstanding audio. Certainly the first HomePod sounded richer and fuller than the HomePod mini does.
But it’s true that the first HomePod lacked some sensors found in the mini, such as a U1 ultra wideband chip and a temperature and humidity sensor. The mini also had a display which lit up from edge to edge which the first HomePod did not. All those shortcomings have been addressed in the second-gen HomePod.
However, there have not been any new features and sensors included in the larger HomePod that were not in the mini, suggesting that Apple regards the mini to be as functionally capable as it needs to be, given there’s no new sensor added in the bigger device . Unless there’s something inside that hasn’t been announced yet, but that doesn’t seem that likely.
As Gurman says, this means there isn’t an obvious reason to update the [HomePod mini].
“Sure,” he goes on, “it would be nice to get more colors, a cheaper price, and better sound and microphones, but the real improvements probably need to be made on the back end — with Siri and app integration.”
I don’t think we can rule out new colors at this stage: there are only three bright shades, blue, orange and yellow, in addition to the more humdrum white and space gray HomePod mini options. And adding colors is something Apple likes to do with products that are already on sale.
But I’d agree that the capabilities of the mini are pretty much on par with the new larger HomePod, apart from the audio quality.
I find it unlikely Apple would want to put the mini ahead of the larger HomePod so soon after the release of the second-gen model due in the next few days.
Assuming the next HomePod sounds as awesome as the first, and Apple says it sounds better, then Apple will continue to have the best-sounding smart speaker on the market.