Apple Inc. is planning to release a smaller, cheaper home assistant as early as next year as an upgrade, according to people familiar with the matter. The Cupertino, California-based firm plans to integrate its acquisition of Beats Electronics LLC into the new device and is currently naming it internally the “HomePod Mini,” said the people, who asked not to be identified as discussing private product plans.
The new device could cost $199 and will mark Apple’s first attempt at entering a market dominated by Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. Apple last made a major iPhone upgrade in 2022 when it unveiled the iPhone 14 alongside the 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max.
Apple Upgrade Plan
The company expects its voice-enabled digital assistant (DVA) will be priced at less than $300 and will compete against devices from Amazon, Google, and Microsoft Corp., which offer similar features at higher prices.
Apple’s DVA would likely run on an iPhone or iPad in addition to other devices like smart speakers and iPhones; one person said this on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized by Apple to discuss the matter publicly.
The device will be called the HomePod Mini and mark Apple’s first attempt at entering a market dominated by Amazon and Google.
Apple’s last major iPhone upgrade was in 2022 when it unveiled the iPhone 14 alongside the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. It was a big departure from previous models, with an edge-to-edge display without a visible home button or fingerprint sensor.
This year’s iPhones will bring some welcome improvements to their cameras: they’ll have tri-lens 12mp wide-angle and 12mp telephoto lenses that allow for greater zoom capability in your photos. And you can now shoot video at 4k resolution (2160p).
The iPhone 14 Pro Max was a big departure from previous models. It features an edge-to-edge display without a visible home button or fingerprint sensor that allows users to unlock the phone by looking at it with facial recognition technology — replacing Touch ID.
Apple said in October that it would discontinue orders for the device because production had been delayed due to supply issues.
The iPhone 14, 14 Pro, and 14 Pro Max are also set to receive a new feature called ARKit 2 that will allow developers to develop augmented reality games. Apple’s ARKit software will be available on both new iPhones as well as the iPad Pro tablet.
Apple has been working on an upgraded version of its operating system for years now, but it looks like those plans may have changed significantly in recent months. The company recently canceled its annual iPhone upgrade cycle altogether, instead choosing to focus on developing innovative software features instead of new hardware upgrades like we’ve seen from competitors, Android, in recent years.