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 (opens in new tab), 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.