Apple is believed to be working on a new full-sized HomePod that features a touchscreen display for the first time. The device is rumored to launch as soon as the first half of this year, so here’s everything we know about it so far.
Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman was first to suggest in 2021 that Apple is working on new HomePods with displays and cameras. The ?HomePod?’s OS is now built upon tvOS, and it appears that the groundwork for a ?HomePod? with a screen has been slowly laid in the background for some time.
Design and Functionality
The first specific report of Apple’s intention to launch a new HomePod model with a display came from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in March 2023. He said the device will feature a 7-inch display supplied by China’s Tianma.
More details on HomePod B720Same panel size and same design with HomePod 2. Screen were bit curved, looks great after got assembled.#appleinternal pic.twitter.com/z8mYgeI3O2— Kosutami (@KosutamiSan) December 26, 2023
In October 2023, the Apple leaker and prototype collector known as “Kosutami” shared information about an upcoming HomePod model with an LCD display. The device will purportedly feature a virtually identical design to the second-generation ?HomePod?, but with a large LCD touch screen at the top instead of the LED array used on all ?HomePod? models to date.
This report was subsequently corroborated by other sources, which added that the model is in active development under the codename “B720”. Code in tvOS 17 apparently suggests that Apple Music and Apple Podcasts are among the first apps being rewritten to be compatible with the new display, which will show a blurred animation based on the colors of the album art when a song or podcast is playing. The screen could also potentially show important notifications.
In December, Kosutami shared further images of the prototype device, showing a curved, convex LCD screen to display content at the top.
There is also the potential for a new chip. The 2023 ?HomePod? contains the S7 chip, the same chip used in 2021’s Apple Watch Series 7. Despite the introduction of the S8 chip in late 2022 in the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra, and second-generation Apple Watch SE, Apple elected to use the S7 chip.
Apple’s latest Apple Watch models feature the S9 chip, which is significantly more capable than all of its predecessors because it is based on the A15 Bionic. Many Siri requests are processed locally, meaning that responsiveness could benefit from an improved chip. The S9 could also open the ability for health and fitness-related enquiries, but the exact chip the device will use is unknown.
The next-generation ??HomePod??’s display could facilitate deeper integration with Apple’s other hardware products, Kuo believes. For example, a new ?HomePod? could conceivably introduce a lower-latency Handoff experience with the second-generation Ultra Wideband chip used in the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro.
It could also tout improved audio hardware and microphones, as well as specification upgrades like Wi-Fi 6E support.
In his original March 2023 report, Kuo said that the new ?HomePod? would launch in the first half of 2024. There are no concrete rumors about any other new full-sized HomePods at the current time. Meanwhile, Kuo said that Apple will begin mass shipments of the second-generation HomePod mini in the second half of 2024.
It is not clear if the touchscreen ?HomePod? will be a direct replacement for the second-generation ?HomePod? or a new, high-end offering in the lineup, but it may not be long before we know for sure.
In the long term, Apple is believed to be rethinking its smart home strategy and is reportedly working on a combined Apple TV and HomePod device, as well as a ?HomePod? with a screen mounted on a robotic arm.Related Roundup: HomePodBuyer’s Guide: HomePod (Buy Now)This article, “Apple’s Touchscreen HomePod Coming This Year: Everything We Know” first appeared on MacRumors.comDiscuss this article in our forums
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Author: Hartley Charlton