After the surprise resurrection of the large HomePods smart speakers in the shape of the HomePods (second generation), Apple is reportedly thinking small – or rather, mini. While multiple reports say we shouldn't expect to see the HomePods mini 2 this year, Apple is apparently planning mass production of second-gen small speakers for 2024.
The news comes via analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who posted on Twitter (opens in new tab) that key supplier Goertek has "secured NPI and assembly orders for HomePod mini 2". NPI is short for New Product Introduction, and it's the process of bringing together all the resources required to make a brand new product.
So what can we expect?
What upgrades will the HomePods mini 2 have?
The timeline certainly seems reasonable – by 2024 the mini will be four years old, which is an eternity in smart home tech – but what would a second generation mini do that the current one doesn't? After all it does multi-room, stereo pairing, 360-degree sound and HomeKit.
The most obvious upgrade is Dolby Atmos to match the larger HomePods, and their room sensing tech could make it across too. A significant redesign feels unlikely – after all, the HomePods 2 look identical to, and will no doubt get just as grubby as, the first generation – and the rumoured smart home display appears to be a different device that's more like an iPad.
I'm hoping that the biggest changes are to Siri, and in particular Siri's speed and accuracy: while expanding Siri's capabilities is impressive in a keynote speech, it's not much use in your front room if you have to tell Siri the same thing five times before it gets it right. I'm surrounded by HomePods big and small and while I'm aware this is a first world problem, premium-priced smart home kit shouldn't be this annoying.