Apple might launch a cheaper HomePod at some point this year. It costs $349 right now. This makes the smart speaker much more expensive than rivals like the Google Home and Amazon Echo. Both are priced below $200.
A new report has popped up on Chinese site Sina recently. It claims that Apple is working on a budget HomePod priced at $199. The twist is that it may be sold under the Beats brand instead of the company’s own label.
Switching to Beats would allow Apple to maintain its premium status while still appealing to cost-conscious consumers. However, it remains to be seen whether Siri will be part of the package. After all, the AI is only found in the brand’s own products.
9to5Mac thinks there’s a possibility that the Chinese supply chain is confused about the actual product. The thing is, Apple plans to add AirPlay 2 support to Beats devices soon. Chances are the article is mixing up a budget HomePod with an AirPlay 2-supporting Beats speaker.
Cheaper HomePod with MediaTek inside
The report also states that MediaTek will be supplying the chips for the cheaper HomePod. The firm apparently formed a team to fight for orders from Apple last year. There are even some who say it’ll be supplying SoCs for future iPhones.
Apple could easily slash rates if it adopted MediaTek processors in the HomePod. The brand seems disappointed by sales figures for the original model. This is supposedly what’s motivating it to even consider a cheaper version.
But its exorbitant cost is not the only problem. Another factor holding the HomePod back is Siri. The voice assistant isn’t nearly as intelligent as Google Assistant and Alexa. Apple recently hired Google’s head of AI to address this issue.
Hopefully, the next-gen HomePod won’t repeat its predecessor’s mistakes.