Following the rumors that Apple was working on a smaller, cheaper version of the HomePod, it turns out that the rumors were right on the money because Apple has since officially taken the wraps off their latest smart speaker, the HomePod mini.
The U1 chip that debuted with the iPhone 11 last year seemed like an indication that Apple was readying its own Tile-like tracking accessory, but now according to a report from Jon Prosser, he claims that the U1 chip is actually the foundation for even bigger plans and loftier goals than just helping you find a missing object.
According to the rumors, Apple is apparently planning on creating a HomePod mini set of speakers. This device is said to be smaller and cheaper than the HomePod, and now according to a post by Kang on Weibo, it seems that the pricing of the upcoming speaker has been revealed, and we are pretty thrilled by that news.
With all the fuss surrounding smart speakers, it did not come as a surprise that Apple tossed their hat into the ring when they launched the HomePod. However, to say that the speaker received a lukewarm reception is overstating it as many were put off by the price and also the seemingly lack of features compared to other smart speakers.
When it comes to digital assistants, it’s obvious that Siri could stand to be improved upon. Now according to researchers from Apple and Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute, they have recently published a paper that suggests that one of the ways these improvements could be made is by mapping out the room.
Let’s face it, unlike the Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers, Apple hasn’t had that much luck with the HomePod. Designed to be a “premium” sounding device, the price of the speaker combined with Siri’s limitations has resulted in a device that isn’t exactly flying off the shelves, but Apple wants to change that.
Apple’s HomePod speakers were initially powered by its own software that is largely based on iOS. However, according to a report from 9to5Mac, they discovered that in the latest update to the smart speaker system, Apple has made some changes where the HomePod is now powered by tvOS, the same OS used to run Apple TV.
At the moment, Apple’s HomePod is designed in such a way that the controls are placed on the top of the speaker where users can control music playback. They can also control it using Siri. However, it seems that in the future, HomePods could sport touch-sensitive fabric that would allow users to control the speakers by touching anywhere around the speaker.
As far as smart speakers are concerned, Apple’s HomePod is definitely not one of the cheaper options out there. At an initial launch price of $349, it was definitely more expensive than many of the options out there, plus reviews of the speakers aren’t exactly glowing, meaning that it is an expensive pill to swallow for would-be customers.
As some of you might have heard, Apple released an update for iOS 13.2, but unfortunately during the update process, it seems that some HomePod users ended up with bricked devices. Apple has since warned users that if they have installed the update that they should not attempt to reset it or remove the device from the Home app.
The other day, there were reports that following the release of iOS 13.2, some HomePod users were claiming that their devices were bricked, where the device would keep rebooting itself endlessly with no end in sight. The good news is that Apple has since pulled the iOS 13.2 update, so if you haven’t updated yet, you should be good.
Apple only recently released the iOS 13.2 update, but it seems that the update is already causing some issues. According to several user reports, it seems that following the update, some HomePod users are finding that their devices have been bricked. Some users report a white spinning light where the speaker continuously reboots itself every few seconds, essentially rendering it unusable.
With the HomePod, Apple has dipped their toes into the smart speaker waters. However, judging from the reports we’ve seen, it has barely made a dent in the market which is still largely dominated by the likes of Amazon and Google, who have launched smart speakers that are decidedly more feature-rich.
Apple’s rollout of the HomePod has been a bit slow, where unlike its iPhones and iPads and Mac computers, the availability of the HomePod is still very much limited to a handful of countries. However, the company has been slowly expanding its availability and come 23rd of August, it seems that the HomePod will finally be making its way to Japan.