Apple to launch AirTags with custom accessories, smaller HomePod this year
Other products that are in the pipeline include a new HomePod and the long-rumored AirTags, both of which have been further detailed today.
A cheaper, smaller HomePod to take on Google and Amazon
Bloomberg claims the Silicon Valley-based giant is now preparing an updated HomePod that is around half the size of the original. However, people familiar with the product say the design remains largely unchanged.
The smart speaker has reportedly been in development for several months and faced delays, although Apple is now understood to be targeting a release in the second half of this year. That means an unveiling alongside the iPhone 12 series in September is extremely likely.
Apple is expected to offer the new HomePod at a lower price in an attempt to compete more directly with Amazon and Google, who dominate the smart speaker landscape in the United States and globally right now.
Lastly, Apple is working towards improving Siri and revamping its smart home efforts, which explains the recent AI startup acquisitions.
AirTags will be launched alongside official accessories
This is made possible by the U1 ultra wideband chip featured inside both the trackers and the iPhone 11 series. That should provide significantly more accurate tracking when compared to traditional Bluetooth and Wi-Fi tile trackers.
The expectation is that owners will be able to assign specific tags to items and easily track them through the Find My app on iOS, iPadOS, and MacOS devices.
Bloomberg says AirTags are planned for release at some point this year. A specific timeline wasn’t provided, but previous reports have mentioned an announcement at the virtual WWDC press conference in early June.
Refreshed budget iPads and much more
The upgrades will presumably include a faster processor and a few other tweaks, but no major external changes are expected at this stage. Apple may also be looking into updating the iPad Mini and iPad Air, which are now over one year old.