In brief: Apple is reportedly working on a new version of its HomePod speaker as part of a revamped smart home strategy. Renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes a redesigned HomePod with an integrated 7-inch display could be unveiled as early as the first half of 2024. Kuo said Tianma Microelectronics Co. will serve as Apple’s exclusive supplier for the displays used in the new HomePod.
Cupertino is apparently hoping a HomePod with a screen will enhance its versatility, resulting in tighter integration with its other hardware products.
Apple introduced the first HomePod 2017 and launched it in February of the following year. Initial reviews were mixed, leading to weak sales out of the gate. This eventually prompted Apple to discontinue the device in March 2021 after the launch of the smaller and more affordable HomePod Mini.
Apple was not willing to give up on the full-size HomePod, however. Early this year, the company launched a new version of its smart speaker featuring a 4-inch woofer with 20mm of travel alongside an array of five horn-loaded tweeters (each with its own neodymium magnet) and an internal low-frequency calibration microphone for automatic bass correction. The second-gen HomePod also includes four far-field microphones for Siri access and supports spatial audio via Dolby Atmos. It is priced $50 cheaper than the original, at $299.
Kuo believes Tianma has a golden opportunity in front of it. Assuming all goes well with the displays for the in-development HomePod, the supplier could be called on to provide panels for future iPad models.
Kuo did not state as much, but it is not a stretch to imagine a display-equipped HomePod would support multi-touch and probably also come equipped with at least one camera. Should that come to fruition, it could challenge similar devices like Amazon’s Echo Show and Meta Portal for market share.
Image credit: HomePod by Howard Bouchevereau, Smart Home by Stephan Bechert