Report Claims Apple will Debut Cheaper HomePod and MacBook Air This Year

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A new report by Taiwan’s Economic Daily News (via MacOtakara) has claimed that in addition to releasing new iPhones and iPads this year, Apple will also debut cheaper HomePod and MacBook Air models in the second half of 2018. The source believes the HomePod will cost around $150-$200, while the MacBook Air will be priced between $799-$899.

Below is the full breakdown of the translated report (via MacRumors):

  • 9.7-inch iPad for $259: This lines up with a DigiTimes supply chain report from last December that said Apple is considering releasing a cheaper 9.7-inch iPad for $259 in the second quarter of 2018. The current 9.7-inch iPad was released in March 2017 for $349.
  • 6.1-inch iPhone for $649 to $749: This lines up with a prediction from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who expects Apple to launch a mid-range 6.1-inch iPhone with Face ID, but with some design compromises like an LCD rather than OLED display to achieve the lower price point.
  • MacBook Air for $799 to $899: This lines up with another prediction from Kuo, who said Apple will launch a more affordable MacBook Air in the second quarter of 2018. The estimated price range comes from WitsView researcher Yubin Qiu. The current MacBook Air starts at $999.
  • HomePod for $150 to $200: Today’s report cites industry sources who expect a more affordable HomePod to launch in the second half of 2018. It’s hard to decipher details from the loosely translated report, but Mac Otakara’s coverage seems to suggest it will be a smaller speaker.

While the current price of HomePod is certainly higher than the Amazon Echo and Google Home, Apple’s speaker does offer better sound quality than its rival smart speaker, which puts it on par with some other high-quality speakers. In order to reduce its price however, the iPhone maker may release a smaller HomePod mini instead of compromising on sound quality.

In other news, Apple is expected to debut its next generation iPad Pro with Face ID at this year’s WWDC in June.