With the discontinuation of the original HomePod on Friday, everyone is wondering what’s next for the HomePod family? Apple plans to now focus on the single $99 HomePod mini. It hits a sweet spot, being affordable and reasonably sized for any space. Apple might still have a larger- or medium-sized HomePod in the works, but I think the answer lies in portability and displays.
An obvious next step for HomePod is on-the-go listening. Apple currently offers the Beats Pill+ as a bluetooth speaker solution. I think it might be time to cannibalize that product with a portable HomePod that can compete with the newest products from Sonos.
I racked my brain looking for the right name for a portable HomePod. In fact, HomePod in and of itself is kind of an oxymoron for a portable product. But if Apple were to make a HomePod you can take with you, it would also have to work at home connected via lightning or USB-C.
A portable HomePod is a perfect tool for fitness. So we landed on the name “HomePod Sport.” It could come in a variety of colors, even ones that line up with AirPods Max. It could be made out of the same soft mesh that makes up the current HomePod mini and HomePod.
There could be capacitive controls on both sides of the speaker. One side could be for volume controls and the other for talking to Siri and controlling playback.
A portable HomePod would be an excellent complement to Fitness+ and Apple Watch. Take it to the park to do yoga. Bring it on vacation. Move it around your house. You could take a Fitness+ class with a nice loud vibrant speaker anywhere you want.
HomePod Sport could also be the perfect tool for parties. Like AirPods, Apple could introduce the ability to listen with friends. Everyone could bring their HomePod Sports to a party and connect them all together to play the same music in sync. It could create a surround sound stereo experience anywhere you want.
On the other end of the spectrum, could be a display based HomePod that competes with Amazon and Google’s smart displays. I imagine an iPad effectively mounted to a larger HomePod. Since HomePod runs tvOS already, they could use the same interface as Apple TV optimized for a smaller display.
It’d be an awesome product for kitchens with recipe apps, photos, HomeKit controls, Find My support, and more. I’d love for it to have a display with an adjustable angle too, similar to the newest Amazon Echo.
The HomePod family really needs to be flushed out, much like the current AirPods family. I imagine two reasonably priced models. In this case, a HomePod Sport and the HomePod mini. Both small, easy to pair and affordable. At the high end, a beautiful Retina display that helps justify a premium price with better sound.
These days it’s harder for customers to understand why they should buy an expensive smart speaker when they can buy a bunch of cheap ones that sound just as good paired together. Adding a display helps customers understand why they’re paying a premium price. And with a product like this that runs tvOS, it also becomes a new outlet for Apple TV and Apple TV+.
What do you think about the future of HomePod? Do you have any other ideas you want to share with the community? Let us know in the comments below!