Apple is reportedly working on a version of HomePod that will be released under Beats branding, with a cheaper price tag of $199.
The report on the cheaper Apple HomePod has drawn both excitement and skepticism. A lower-priced HomePod might be what Apple needs to fight back against its rivals in the smart speaker industry, but it remains unclear if the device will really happen.
Cheaper Apple HomePod Reportedly On The Way
According to a report by Loveios, Apple is currently in discussions with MediaTek to launch a cheaper version of the Siri-powered HomePod smart speakers, citing sources from the company's supply chain in Taiwan through Sina.
The cheaper HomePod, however, will not be linked to Apple but will rather be released under Beats branding. It looks like customers who have been waiting for new Apple Beats products will get a cheaper HomePod, which will carry a price tag of about $199.
A cheaper Apple HomePod, which has been previously reported, makes sense for Apple's smart speaker. The device only sold 600,000 units in the first quarter, placing it well behind Amazon's Echo and Google Home. The blame for the disappointing performance may be attributed to several factors, including the steep HomePod price of $349, the limited capabilities of Siri compared to Alexa and Google Assistant, and even the risk of wood furniture damage.
Will The Beats HomePod Really Happen?
There have been previous reports on MediaTek being tapped as a supplier for a cheaper HomePod, which does not make the new report a surprise. However, the more interesting fact is that the rumored device will come with Beats branding.
According to 9to5Mac, the supplier may have confused the cheaper HomePod with a new Beats product that will come with the AirPlay 2 feature. A Beats speaker with AirPlay 2 may carry a $199 price tag, but probably not Siri, as Apple may want to keep the digital assistant attached to the HomePod name.
A cheaper Apple HomePod may very well be in the works, but it remains unclear if it will indeed be launched as a Beats product. The Beats brand is known for expensive devices, not cheap ones, so that adds to skepticism that the cheaper HomePod will be under Beats branding.
There is no word yet on the new Apple HomePod release date, but rumors claim that it will be released before the end of the year. If it is launched at $199, will you be interested in buying the new HomePod?