TF Securities tech analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo claims that Apple is working on a new HomePod model which will feature a 7-inch built-in display.
Recently, Apple HomePod 2 features a new S7 chip to deliver advanced computational audio with Spatial Audio for an immersive listening experience and backlit touch surface like the 2020 HomePod mini. Underwhelmingly, those are the only two noticeable differences between the 2023 and the original 2017 models, they look and sound exactly the same.
[Update; March 20, 2023: Corroborating that Apple is working on its first HomePod with a screen, Mark Gurman from Bloomberg has given a more precise time frame for its launch. In his latest newsletter, he said that the smart speaker has been pushed to 2024 because of the company’s latest austerity measures to manage economic headwinds.
He explained that the tech giant has allocated the research and development budget to more important projects like its mixed reality headset. Therefore, the new HomePod will debut in early 2024 as Kuo had also predicted.]
New HomePod with a display to debut in early 2024
The report details that Apple has tapped a new supplier, Tianma to provide the 7-inch screen of its new smart speaker. Scheduled to debut in the first half of 2024, the new HomePod is expected to mark the transition of Apple’s smart home strategy.
I predict that Apple will unveil a redesigned HomePod featuring a 7-inch panel in 1H24, with Tianma as the exclusive panel supplier.
The HomePod, which equips a panel, could enable tighter integration with Apple’s other hardware products, marking a significant shift in the company’s smart home strategy.
Rumors related to a new speaker with a screen go back to 2021. Firstly, Bloomberg reported that Apple was working on next-generation smart speaker models with screens and cameras, but their launch was years away.
iOS 14.5 beta 1 and HomePod 15.3 Siri hinted at a future smart speaker model with a screen in February 2022. In April 2022, Bloomberg reconfirmed that the tech giant was still working on its HomePod, Apple TV combo with FaceTime. Therefore, it is likely that the new smart speaker Kuo claims might launch next year.
Kuo also states that if Tianma successfully manages Apple’s order of the new smart speaker’s display panels, Apple might give it an order for iPad display panels as well.
Tianma’s long-term prospects in Apple’s supply chain look promising. It’s poised to follow the growth path of BYD Electronics or BOE by starting with low-end products and gradually increasing its shipment allocation, and obtaining higher-end products through technology capacility upgrades. Tianma’s next orders from Apple may be iPad panels if the shipment goes well.
It is also reported that Apple is developing a more diverse next-generation iPad lineup for 2024 including a low-end iPad which would be used more as a home gadget instead of a regular iPad to control lights and temperature, play videos, FaceTime chats, and a foldable iPad with kickstand.