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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.

Second-Generation-HomePod-With-Top-LCD-Feature.jpg

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.



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.

homepod-b720.jpg

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.

Chip

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.

s9-chip-apple-watch.jpg

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.

Additional Features

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.

Release Date

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.

Article Link: Apple's Touchscreen HomePod Coming This Year: Everything We Know
 

AgentOSX

macrumors regular
Sep 4, 2017
158
343
Hollywood
They need to make is Left-Right compatible to the 1st Gen HomePods AND the 2nd Gen... that way those of us with stereo pair do not have to replace both of them to preserve the stereo effect.

And then they can make the Minis available to use as rear ATMOS sound speakers.
 

Reverend Benny

macrumors 6502a
Apr 28, 2017
575
379
Europe
Don't really see the use for a screen on top of a speaker. Sure, its cool when you walk over to see what song that's being played but it feels a bit unnecessary.
I would focus on getting more third party support and better network connectivity. This is why I went with Sonos rather than Apple and why I stick to Sonos.
I love the voicecontrol that comes with Sonos but its very limited and far from what Siri can deliver today.
Haven't tried Siri on the homepod but it can't be worse than Sonos solution.

Maybe the future S10 chip will find its way to the homepod and that might use Wifi6?
 

Piggie

macrumors G3
Feb 23, 2010
9,098
3,955
Said it before and I'll say it again.
It's a stupid location to place a screen.

It's a speaker, you place anywhere in a room and it beams out sound. Having to stand right next to it, and look down onto the top, to actually see the screen is dumb.

Yes, it looks fine in Photo's and will look fine, in a demo of the product, but it's not suitable to have a screen facing the ceiling in real life usage.
 

Piggie

macrumors G3
Feb 23, 2010
9,098
3,955
Just give me a Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max in HomePod form and I’ll kit the house out in them. Not hard Apple.
It's pretty shocking that Apple is so far behind.
The oppertunity to use their touch interface on a product like those from Google or Amazon, and have a nice screen interface with a smart speaker is amazing.
You would think they would jump all over being able to offer such a product.

Personally the only REAL reason I can think of that they have not created such a product is that behind the scenes they actually know (not that they would say it publicly of course) that Siri has been the worse assistant since they bought it from the original developers of SiRi

(Side note, I recall stories from years ago about how Siri actually got worse after Apple bought it from the makers)

If Siri was right up there and as good as any others, perhaps Apple would have more confidence in creating a product that relied on it for it's main operation?
 

orbital~debris

macrumors 68020
Mar 3, 2004
2,108
5,408
UK, Europe
A couple of things I’d hope to see in any new HomePod hardware, before a new display:

A full fix - on Apple’s side - for whatever causes the “sorry, there was a problem with Apple Podcasts” Siri response when, having asked HomePod for your update, it reaches the news summary portion. I’ve tried all the remedies without improvement, and this bug’s persisted over multiple releases of software updates.

A return to the higher number of mics in the array. I replaced an original model HomePod in my kitchen with the second generation model - same location - and it’s listening ability is noticeably hampered (presumably due to the decreased number of mics), with Siri frequently unable to discern what’s been said/requested or identify which member of my family is speaking when there’s background noise (such as a running tap, or active cooker hood extractor).
On top of that frustration, Siri will often respond in the affirmative after having checked who is speaking - but not actually complete the request (eg. adding an item to my grocery list). Very frustrating, particularly as it used to work so well with the original hardware (and still does on the other og HomePod around the house).
 

steve09090

macrumors 68000
Aug 12, 2008
1,822
3,603
I know people won’t agree with me.. and I don’t care….thumbs down all you like… But

1) This is not Siri, it’s a speaker. Siri does not currently work as an internet information device as its main function. It works for Homekit and some basic functions that don’t need a screen. Sure, I want a Siri to improve, but could not care less about it working like that with a homepod.

2) HomePod with a screen. It’d be nice to see what is playing on it, but I almost always only use it as an AirPlay speaker. I don’t want or need a bigger screen. I have an ipad, iPhone and Mac with a screen. I don’t want it on a speaker. I want sound from a speaker.
 

TimFL1

macrumors 68000
Jul 6, 2017
1,631
1,880
Germany
Said it before and I'll say it again.
It's a stupid location to place a screen.

It's a speaker, you place anywhere in a room and it beams out sound. Having to stand right next to it, and look down onto the top, to actually see the screen is dumb.

Yes, it looks fine in Photo's and will look fine, in a demo of the product, but it's not suitable to have a screen facing the ceiling in real life usage.
This. R&D money should rather flow into pushing voice commands/ Siri tech forward instead of turning a primarily voice controlled speaker into a hybrid voice & screen one.
 

ric22

macrumors 65816
Mar 8, 2022
1,385
1,293
Who wants a screen on a speaker? Apple's iPads have small speakers, but can connect to larger speakers. It seems a baffling product. Apple should have spent time on the catastrophic software/firmware of the original HomePods, rather than just release a "HomePod 2" that was just a cost cutting exercise.

Edit: And yes, like everyone says, producing a not-awful Siri, the decade out of date voice assistant.
 

ric22

macrumors 65816
Mar 8, 2022
1,385
1,293
One funny thing others may have noticed- requesting songs named in languages other than English, and being forced to mispronounce the song name in the way that an American who doesn't speak the other language might. Try it with Rammstein songs, for example.
 
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