Apple’s HomePod mini will be three years old in October, raising questions around what the company has in store for its low-cost smart speaker in the future. Here’s everything we know so far based on rumors and Apple’s other releases.
The HomePod mini was announced in October 2020 at Apple’s iPhone 12 event. Less than half a year later, Apple discontinued the original HomePod, leaving the HomePod mini as the company’s only smart speaker until earlier this year when Apple relaunched the full-size HomePod form factor.
The newly reintroduced HomePod offers a large number of features that were previously exclusive to the HomePod mini, including an Apple Watch S-series chip, a U1 ultra wideband chip, Thread support, a temperature and humidity sensor, and a larger backlit touch surface that illuminates from edge to edge.
Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman was first to highlight Apple’s work on a second-generation HomePod mini in August 2022. Gurman has since expressed skepticism about what a new HomePod mini could offer since “the latest HomePod doesn’t include any major new functions that aren’t already in the $99 mini.”
A second-generation HomePod mini could conceivably introduce a lower-latency Handoff experience, improved sound and microphones, and the S7, S8, S9, or S10 chip. Many Siri requests are processed locally, meaning that responsiveness could benefit from an improved chip. A new HomePod mini could also see specification upgrades, such as Wi-Fi 6E support.
The HomePod mini currently contains the S5 chip from the Apple Watch Series 5 and first-generation Apple Watch SE. Late 2024 will likely see the introduction of the Apple Watch Series 10 and the S10 chip, so that’s the most advanced chip Apple could feasibly give the device.
The 2023 HomePod contains the S7 chip, the same chip used in 2021’s Apple Watch Series 7. Despite the introduction of the S8 chip in late 2022 in the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra, and second-generation Apple Watch SE, Apple elected to use the S7 chip. This suggests it isn’t certain that Apple will use its latest S-series chip in the second-generation HomePod mini.
The S6, S7, and S8 chips are all fundamentally the same and based on the A13 Bionic chip. The S9 chip, on the other hand, is expected to be based on the A15 Bionic chip, leading to major performance and efficiency improvements. The S6, S7, or S8 chip would be a notable upgrade for the HomePod mini, but the S9 or S10 chip could offer even more substantial enhancements.
It also seems highly likely that a new HomePod mini will come in a refreshed selection of color options. The current device is available in Space Gray, Blue, Yellow, White, and Orange. With the reintroduced full-size HomePod, Apple swapped Space Gray for Midnight, so a similar switch seems likely for the HomePod mini at a minimum.
It is also possible that Apple could wait to introduce a new HomePod mini until the debut of a third-generation full-size HomePod, especially if it includes new features. Apple is developing an updated version of the HomePod that will feature a 7-inch display, according to Ming-Chi Kuo. The HomePod with a 7-inch display is expected to come out next year at the earliest.