This time next year we could see the arrival of an Apple HomePod that looks very different from the current smart speaker. That’s according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TFI Securities who wrote that in the first half of 2024, Apple may release its updated HomePod.

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That might seem pretty early, considering the current second-gen HomePod only arrived a few weeks ago. Which suggests that the new model will be quite different. Well, it will.

Kuo said, “I predict that Apple will unveil a redesigned HomePod with a 7-inch panel in 1:24, with Tianma as the exclusive panel supplier.”

By comparison, the current HomePod has a five-inch screen on its lid. While it’s not impossible that the new model will simply have a much bigger screen on top, that doesn’t seem likely to me.

After all, first and foremost, the HomePod is about music, and a bigger screen could physically get in the way of better sound.

Kuo says that the intention of this new device will be different: “The HomePod, which equips a panel, could enable tighter integration with Apple’s other hardware products, marking a significant shift in Apple’s smart home strategy. business.”

It could therefore be a device designed to focus more on the smart home. Fair enough, though I’d honestly be surprised if Apple reduced its focus on a music device. If the seven-inch screen was on a machine more like an Amazon Echo Show, for example, I’d still expect Apple to make high-quality audio speakers for it. The Echo Show series has the rear-slanted speakers, but the HomePod’s ethos so far has been for full sound.

In other words, exactly what it would look like, or in fact do, is unclear at this point.

Some have suggested it might look more like an iPad, designed for wall mounting and capable of FaceTime calling, although in this case a seven-inch screen seems a little on the small side to me.

And let’s remember that when it comes to screens designed primarily to display data, like the status of smart home devices, for example, Apple prefers a rectangular screen, like on the Apple Watch, rather than a round screen preferred by HomePod and HomePod mini.

The good news is that if the timing is right, there’s plenty of time for leaks by next June, the end of the first half of 2024.

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