Apple is reportedly planning to launch a cheaper, Beats-branded HomePod smart speaker, amid speculation that its first-generation model is not selling as well as expected.
According to a somewhat sketchy new report from Loveios (via BGR), the new HomePods will cost around $199 USD and will be made in partnership with Beats Audio. At this price, Apple might be able to capture some market share which is currently dominated by Amazon and Google.
The report also explains that Apple is also allegedly in talks with MediaTek to supply the chips for the speaker. The HomePod is currently using Apple’s in-house A8 SoC to power the speaker. Apple’s decision to use MediaTek chips is probably to reduce the cost to build the speaker.
9to5Mac, however, suggests that the somewhat shady source is mixing up a so-called cheaper HomePod with a refreshed Beats product with AirPlay 2, as Apple previously confirmed that its second-generation AirPlay tech would be coming to future Beats products.
“While it could very well be possible that Apple has a cheaper HomePod up its sleeve, it seems unlikely that the device will carry Beats branding,” the report notes.
As is with the majority of rumors, it’s important to take this one with the proverbial grain of salt.
Recent reports claim that the HomePod is not selling as well as its rivals from Google and Amazon. With the development of a more affordable smart speaker, it seems like Apple is betting on the affordable price point to drive sales of its upcoming smart speaker.
For HomePod, it’s not even available for sale in Canada, yet.