The HomePod is Apple’s answer to the Echo and its design is rather different from the competition, where it comes in a barrel-shaped design with mesh surrounding the speakers. According to Engadget, Amazon’s next-gen Echo will apparently look similar, where it is said to be shorter and slimmer, “almost as if it were three or four Echo Dots stacked on top of each other”.
Amazon is also rumored to be “softening” the design of the Echo by including rounded edges and a cloth-like covering. Sound-wise, Amazon is said to pack several tweeters inside the device, similar to the HomePod which packs seven tweeters inside of it, which in turn helps it to sound “better”.
So far the appeal of the Echo devices is that it is relatively affordable and functional, with Amazon opening up Alexa to third-party developers to create various recipes for different functions. Whether or not this particular device ends up being more of a premium remains to be seen, but take it with a grain of salt for now.