Apple plans on launching a new cheaper HomePod and a more expensive AirPods next year.
The existing $300 HomePod has not done very well and Apple is lagging behind Google and Amazon in the smart speaker race. Among other things, the extremely high price tag of the HomePod is a key reason for Apple’s failure to capture a sizeable share of the smart speaker market. Google and Amazon both have smart speaker offerings that start from as low as $50 and during deals, one can get them for as low as $24.99.
The new cheaper HomePod will only have two tweeters which should help keep its price down. The current HomePod has seven tweeters and focuses heavily on sound quality. While it definitely offers the best sound quality among all smart speakers in the market, that has not helped it much in gaining traction among consumers who tend to prefer a lower price tag over superior sound quality.
Today’s report does not mention anything about pricing but there have been rumors of Apple launching a Beats-branded Siri-powered smart speaker with a $199 price tag.
As for the new AirPods, it will carry a price tag that is higher than the $159 of the existing 2nd gen AirPods. In return, it will offer active noise cancellation and water resistance, both of which have been heavily requested by existing customers of AirPods. Given the higher price tag of this model, Apple will likely keep the existing model on sale as well. The company released the 2nd gen AirPods earlier this year with longer battery life and always-on ‘Hey Siri’ support.[Via Bloomberg]