Apple may launch cheaper AirPods, game controller, two HomePods, and more soon

Apple may launch cheaper AirPods, game controller, two HomePods, and more soon
Apple has an extensive lineup of products planned for release later this year including four iPhone 12 devices, at least two new iPads, and premium over-ear headphones. Now, an anonymous tipster known as L0veToDream has shared some information about what else is in the pipeline.

Cheaper AirPods could arrive next month

Tipster Jon Prosser revealed yesterday that Apple has a pair of AirPods ready to be announced and shipped. He expects them to debut in May after originally being scheduled for the March event, which was canceled.

Further details about them were not provided, but the aforementioned anonymous leaker believes the new AirPods will act as a cheaper version. The product strategy used by Apple to create them was compared to that of the iPhone SE.

If true, customers can likely expect a pair of AirPods that look identical to the 2019 version but with some internal downgrades such as a smaller battery and lower audio quality. Ultimately, though, this is purely speculation at this stage. 

Pricing wasn’t specifically mentioned by the tipster, but he did like a Tweet that referenced a potential $129 price tag. The goal with these new AirPods is to lower the threshold and make them seem like an even more essential accessory to customers.

Long-term, that should make removing the Lightning port on iPhones a slightly less controversial decision.

One big HomePod and one small HomePod

The original HomePod failed miserably but Apple isn’t giving up on the smart speaker market just yet. The leaker claims Apple is working on a small HomePod, something that has been reported several times before, and an updated version of the original product.

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Apple is expected to offer support for additional music streaming services such as Spotify, YouTube Music, and Pandora. Improvements to Siri are also expected as part of a plan to revamp smart home efforts.

The smaller HomePod should be offered at a lower price point in an attempt to compete more directly with Google and Amazon. Apple is expected to continue targeting the premium speaker segment with the larger model, though.

Earlier reports have mentioned a targeted release in the second half of the year, which makes an announcement alongside the iPhone 12 series very likely.

AirPower and AirPower Mini are on the way

A smaller wireless charging mat, possibly named AirPower Mini, was first mentioned back in January by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Tipster Fudge revealed yesterday that it was codenamed C26 and L0veToDream believes it has been in development since before 2019.

It should be able to charge one device at a time and arrive later this year alongside a revived version of the AirPower charging mat. The latter will reportedly retail at $250 and charge three devices at a time including AirPods, an Apple Watch, or an iPhone. 

To avoid overheating, the largest product integrates the A11 Bionic chipset for dynamic heat management. Whether that will be added to the Mini version remains to be seen.

An Apple Game Controller and a new Apple TV

Apple Arcade debuted last fall as a gaming subscription service and was met with a lot of praise. Now, Apple wants to double-down on its efforts surrounding the service.

Countless reports say an updated Apple TV complete with 4K support and the next-gen A14 Bionic is on track for a release later this year. L0veToDream agrees and believes Apple will focus heavily on its gaming capabilities.

So much so that it's developing a custom game controller. Specifics weren’t announced, but the leaker believes a package deal that includes the game controller, an Apple TV, and an Apple Arcade subscription could be made available.

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