Rumors of a low-cost HomePod have been circulating for a couple of years now, and it finally appears as though Apple is ready to drop its new Amazon Echo Dot competitor.
Major chains such as Best Buy have been offering HomePod at its lowest ever price – just $199 in-store and online – and reliable insider Mark Gurman has revealed that Apple employees are now allowed to purchase up to ten HomePods at 50% off, up from two.
The company allows employees – both Apple Campus talent and those at its retail stores – to purchase products at a significant discount but limits them to two each.
However, when new products are on the horizon, Apple has a habit of upping the limit on discounted purchases to shift old stock and prepare for a new release; in this case, a second-generation HomePod.
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) May 18, 2020
Last week, the HomePod was sold out on Apple’s website in the United States, suggesting that the company is clearing its product inventory and preparing for a new product soon.
The company was criticized for its original HomePod, priced at $349 in the United States at launch.
Despite offering superior sound quality, many argued that it lacked the basic functionality needed for a smart speaker, especially in comparison to Amazon and Google.
Since the launch in 2018, Apple has dropped the price of the speaker to $299 in the United States and has added new functionality such as Handoff, voice recognition for multiple users, new ambient sounds, and multi-room audio, but its smart assistant Siri still falls short of rival assistants Amazon Echo and Google Assistant, something Apple wants to combat. It could bolster its smart assistant this year at WWDC20.
According to a previous report from Gurman, Apple’s new low-cost speaker will better compete with the likes of the Echo Dot and Home Mini – which regularly retail for as little as $24 during promotional sales – and feature two tweeters, much less than the seven in the premium HomePod. A second-generation HomePod could also be lowered in price.
Would you be here for a new HomePod? What would it take for you to witch from Google and Amazon to Apple? Let us know on social media and check back soon for more news.