Following the surprise return of the HomePod smart speaker earlier this year, reports suggest that Apple could launch a new model in 2024 to take on the Amazon Echo Show.
Alongside its iPad tablets, Mac computers and other technology, Apple also produces a line of smart speakers called HomePods, the most recent of which is the HomePod 2. The devices are sonically very good – in our HomePod 2 review we said they offer “stunning” sound that outshines most other smart speakers, although we also noted that they feel a bit too locked into the Apple ecosystem and are quite expensive .
The HomePod lineup also doesn’t currently have an answer to Amazon’s Echo Show smart displays, which are actually displays attached to smart speakers. Besides the typical functionality of a smart speaker, a smart display can use its screen to visually relay information. This can include showing you a video feed from your smart home cameras, a recipe while you cook a meal, or content from some of the best streaming services.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo — an Apple analyst with a solid track record of accurate leaks — Apple may be looking to fill that gap in its lineup in 2024 by launching a HomePod with a display.
Kuo says (opens in a new tab) Apple is teaming up with Tianma, a Chinese display maker, as part of its “revamped smart home strategy”. Kuo predicts that this collaboration will see the launch of a HomePod with a 7-inch screen in the first half of 2024, with this new product also allowing “tighter integration with other Apple hardware”.
One advantage we think a HomePod with a display would likely offer over Amazon’s smart displays is better sound. A common theme of our Amazon Echo show reviews – including our Amazon Echo Show 15 review And Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen) Review – is that the devices have poor audio capabilities. Audio is the one area where HomePods have excelled, and we expect a HomePod with a display to continue that trend.
We’ll have to wait and see if Kuo is right with his prediction, and also to find out exactly what he means by “tighter integration” – maybe you can use the HomePod to face someone on an iPhone or an iPad, or manage your phone’s files and notifications from the smart display.
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