We’ve only just got the new HomePod 2, but now there are already rumors of a new HomePod. This doesn’t look to be a replacement for the aging HomePod mini, however, but a HomePod with a 7-inch screen.
In news that Tianma will become a large exclusive panel supplier for Apple, the ever-reliable Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that Apple will release a new HomePod (opens in new tab) with a screen in the first half of 2024. So we’re not going to see it any time soon, but we can still get thinking about it.
A HomePod with a screen?
Technically, the HomePod 2 already has a display – it’s that cool light show on top that dances when Siri is talking, or it’s listening to a voice command. Not a screen as is predicted here, however, with this one being a whole lot bigger and presumably a little more sophisticated.
It’s not an unprecedented move, with products like the Google Nest and Amazon’s Echo lines both having several bescreened models, but Apple is yet to release something similar. The interesting thing then would be thinking about what the screen would run OS-wise. Would it be something new? A paired-down iOS or iPadOS? A standalone version of the Home App with new features? Amazon and Google’s smart speakers with screens are used for things like video calls and video watching, so there could be a camera on board as well. Unfortunately, Kuo doesn’t go beyond the screen, so everything at this point is pure conjecture.
Mark Gurman also talked about something similar last year, although he was thinking more along the lines of an all-in-one soundbar-Apple TV device rather than a HomePod with a screen. He then clarified in his Power On newsletter later on in the year that he still believes that a HomePod-Apple TV hybrid with a camera is the way Apple might go.
He does talk a little more about Tianma’s further involvement in Apple screen manufacture. Not only will it make screens for this new HomePod, but it looks like it could be, if all goes well with this new HomePod, for the best iPads as well. That could be for the rumored eye-wateringly expensive OLED iPad Pro, although again, Kuo does not detail this. It is evidence of Apple looking to spread into other companies for supply, however, and looking to already established Android manufacturers.