Apple isn’t currently working on a new version of the HomePod mini, according to Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, who addressed the matter in the latest installment of his Power On newsletter.
“At this point,” Gurman wrote, “I don’t believe that Apple is actively working on such a product. The latest HomePod doesn’t include any major new functions that aren’t already in the $99 mini, so there isn’t an obvious reason to update the model. Sure, it would be nice to get more colors, a cheaper price, and better sound and microphones, but the real improvements probably need to be made on the back end–with Siri and app integration.”
The claim comes as something of a surprise, given that, as Gurman mentioned, Apple launched a second-gen edition of the full-size HomePod last week. Most pundits agree that the HomePod mini is a more successful product than its larger sibling, which was discontinued in 2021 following disappointing sales; if Apple is prepared to roll the dice on a successor to one, it’s odd that it wouldn’t do the same for the other. It’s not like the HomePod mini is new, either. Launched in November 2020, it’s already well over two years old.
The return of the full-size HomePod, against all apparent commercial logic, is understood to be part of a new strategy by Apple to prioritize the smart home, with multiple smart displays and an updated Apple TV reportedly on their way. In that context, it’s even more peculiar that the company would choose to neglect its mini smart speaker, which is perfectly suited to multi-room setups.
But it does seem that this particular pronouncement, unlike many of Gurman’s predictions, is based on his own deductions and lack of “chatter” rather than insider sources. Gurman thinks the comparative lack of functional upgrades in the second-gen HomePod means there’s no reason to update the smaller model: even the additions that it did get, such as Thread support and an Ultra Wideband chip, were already in the mini. (The mini doesn’t currently have the new Sound Recognition feature on its specs sheet, mind you, although it isn’t clear if this could be added retrospectively through a software update.)
It may also be true that an updated mini would risk outshining the new full-size model thanks to its far lower price tag and improved portability. It makes sense that Apple would hold fire for some months so that the HomePod 2 gets a proper chance to shift some units. We know from the AirPods that Apple is happy to leave even very lucrative audio products unrefreshed for longer periods than its iPhones, Macs, and iPads.
Beyond the new HomePod’s honeymoon period, however, Apple must surely be thinking about a second attempt at the mini. We might have to wait until 2024, but we’d be very surprised if we don’t see a second-gen mini at some point.