A major leak discovered on China's Weibo site revealed that Apple
could be releasing the HomePod
Mini next month. The original HomePod was Apple's late entry into the smart speaker category that was created by Amazon for its Echo products. A smart speaker usually consists of a speaker and a digital assistant. Users can use the device to control smart devices inside the home including thermostats, lights, televisions, and more. The user can stream music from his play list, obtain the latest weather, news, sports scores, stock prices, and more. Food can be ordered and just about everything one can do with Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant
on a phone, can be achieved with a smart speaker.
By the time Apple released the HomePod in February 2018, Amazon and Google were dominating the U.S. smart speaker industry with sunits priced as low as $25-$30 during the holiday shopping season. Apple went straight to the high-end with the HomePod, priced at $349 at launch. Apple eventually cut the price, but not by enough for the device to get some traction in the states. Sure, Apple did include a better speaker with the HomePod than the one found on models released by most competitors, but frankly, the market for pricey smart speakers might have been overestimated by the company. In addition, Siri is not exactly the best digital helper.
In August of last year, we noted that Amazon had 70% of the U.S. installed base for smart speakers with Google next at 25%. At the time, Apple's share was only 5% and there was speculation that the company was going to introduce a lower-priced "Mini" version of its smart speaker
. The HomePod Mini's speaker is expected to be 3.3-inches high, just under half the height of the original HomePod model.
The leaked information found on Weibo revealed that a HomePod Mini could be released in the middle of next month, priced at $99. Obviously, Apple will have to cut some corners to bring the pricing down under $100. With the holiday shopping season just about ready to begin, the tech giant hopes to have the HomePod Mini available in time for shoppers; smart speakers are a popular Christmas and Chanukah gift but at $349, Apple's speaker was way too pricey to be purchased as a holiday gift. At the rumored $99 price, the HomePod Mini might be found under many more trees than the original version.