HomePod Mini Now Three Years Old: Here’s What to Expect From the Next Generation

Apple announced the HomePod mini three years ago today at its «Hi, Speed» event alongside the iPhone 12 and ‌iPhone‌ 12 Pro, offering a small form-factor version of its smart speaker for the first time, with a price tag of just $99.

homepod mini thumb feature
Less than half a year after announcing the ‌HomePod mini‌, 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.

Apple refreshed the ‌HomePod mini‌ with color in 2021, adding Blue, Yellow, and Orange options, but the device has remained otherwise unchanged since its introduction. It is now among the oldest devices that Apple still sells, surpassed only by the Pro Display XDR and second-generation Apple Pencil.

What Next for the HomePod mini?

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 with the second-generation ultra wideband chip, improved sound and microphones, and the S7, S8, S9, or S10 chip. Siri requests are now processed locally on the Apple Watch Series 9 thanks to the improved performance of the S9 chip, so bringing the same hardware to the next-generation ‌HomePod mini‌ could considerably boost ‌Siri‌’s responsiveness. 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. 2024 will likely see the introduction of the S10 chip in the next-generation Apple Watch, so that’s the most advanced chip Apple could feasibly give the device if it launches before late 2025.

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.

s9 chip apple watch
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 based on the A15 Bionic chip, leading to major performance and efficiency improvements. The S6, S7, or S8 chip would still be a notable upgrade for the ‌HomePod mini‌, but the S9 or S10 chip would 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.

Release Date

In February, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple will begin mass shipments of the second-generation ‌HomePod mini‌ in the second half of 2024, which seems likely given the age of the current model and apparent active development on a new version for over a year.

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.

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