New Apple HomePod sounds like the smart speaker upgrade I crave

Apple's best smart speaker, the original HomePod, was discontinued. But it's coming back! Back! BACK!

Apple HomePod smart home speaker
(Image credit: Apple)

I'm something of an Apple HomePod fan: I've got two of the originals in my front room and three HomePod minis for the kitchen and bedroom. And as much as I love the minis, Apple's best smart speaker to date is the original and discontinued model. 

The OG HomePod was ridiculously expensive – I bought mine second hand on eBay for a much more sensible price – but the sound from the bigger HomePods is spectacular. When it comes to speakers, size often matters a lot.

So I'm delighted to read that Apple is effectively bringing big HomePods back: the next HomePod mini is going to be bigger and better.

How Apple's best smart speaker is getting smarter

According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, the next HomePod will have the same S8 chipset as the Apple Watch Series 8, and it'll be much closer to the original HomePod both in terms of its size and how it sounds. There will be a new display on top, and according to Gurman "there's even been some talk of multi-touch functionality."

I think this is great news provided the price is right: for all its joys, the OG HomePod wasn't a great success because it was so much more expensive than the best wireless speakers from other manufacturers. But if Apple prices it more aggressively it could be a well deserved hit.

If the new HomePods have an Achilles heel, it's likely to be Siri: a better Siri is really needed now. Siri responds much more slowly and much less reliably than the other digital assistants I've used in my home, and as Siri is the main way of controlling HomePods that means its shortcomings are particularly obvious. Apple's been falling behind in the personal digital assistants space for some time now, so I'm hoping that in iOS 16 Siri gets faster and more useful.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (