HomePod with a display: Everything you need to know

Macworld

Apple’s original smart speaker, the HomePod, first went on sale in February 2018, followed by the HomePod mini in November 2020. The original HomePod was then discontinued in March 2021, only for Apple to reintroduce the larger speaker in January 2023, indicating that it wasn’t done with the smart speaker market yet. And now, rumors are heating up about another update to the HomePod coming: a HomePod with a screen.

The rumor that Apple intends to launch a new HomePod equipped with a screen and combining features from other Apple devices isn’t a new one. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman wrote about Apple’s plans for a HomePod with a screen back in 2021 when he suggested that Apple was developing “new speakers with screens and cameras”. He also suggested that a product that combines the Apple TV and HomePod could be on the way.

Read on to find out what’s in store for the HomePod and how Apple is improving its speaker, with rumors indicating that the next model may be larger, feature a screen, and offer the ability to host conference calls.

HomePod with screen: Release date

Spring 2024 launch is possible.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman first spoke of Apple’s plans for a HomePod with a screen back in March 2021. At the time he claimed that the launch was not imminent. He even warned that the new product might never hit the market. However, over the months and years since that first report, the evidence has been mounting that there is an Apple HomePod with a display in the pipeline.

A Bloomberg report from Mark Gurman back in May 2021 briefly mentioned Apple’s plans to so sell hybrid HomePod products. And in April 2022 Gurman referred to these plans again, stating that Apple is “absolutely” still working on a new HomePod, which Gurman says will combine a HomePod, Apple TV, and FaceTime camera into a single “combination product will probably be at the center of Apple’s approach.”

As time has passed more and more evidence that such a device is in the works at Apple has emerged, and now it looks like we could be seeing something very soon.

The latest evidence that such a product is coming was found in the tvOS 17.4 beta in February 2024. The third beta version of tvOS 17.4 references a device codenamed Z314 that features an A15 chip and runs tvOS. Both the HomePod and Apple TV already run tvOS. According to a 9to5Mac report, hangtracerd (which is used to debug unresponsive UIs) has also been added to the HomePod version of tvOS 17.4, a big indication that there will be a HomePod with a display. tvOS 17.5 could arrive as soon as March 6, 2024. Apple could be set to hold a spring Apple Event in late March or April.

In October 2023 there was yet more evidence of such a device when ‘Kotsutami’ posted (in a now-deleted tweet) an image of what they claimed to be a prototype of the next HomePod with “different glass” for the display at the top (which could be used as a touchscreen).

An Engineering build HomePod frameshell with a completely different glass on top- it’s set for touchscreen, with black bezel
The design of shell is similar to HomePod 2nd gen’s, not the 1st gen—it stands  might decided add 🖥️ for 2’s but not at last, OR it’s next generation pic.twitter.com/W5zRIVGPiK 

Kosutami (@KosutamiSan) October 21, 2023

9to5Mac claimed to have sources that verified Kotsutami’s pictures as legitimate. That site also reported that the codename of the HomePod is B720, and that Apple is using a version of tvOS with rewritten Apple Music and Podcasts apps that are suited to the display of the prototype HomePod which could show colors based on the album art while audio is playing, and show notifications.

Back in March 2023 analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also wrote about Apple’s smart-home plans. He indicated that Apple “will unveil a redesigned HomePod featuring a 7-inch panel in 1H24,” and that this device “could enable tighter integration with Apple’s other hardware products.” Kuo gives the expected release date for the HomePod with a screen as the first half of 2024.

HomePod with screen: Why we need one

Apple’s HomePod relies on voice control via Siri or AirPlay control via an iPhone or iPad. Using Siri to control HomePod music playback can be frustrating and overly complex thanks to the feeling that you need to know exactly which instructions to give to get Siri to, for example, skip a track. Those who prefer a visual interface may use their iPhone to control music playback on their HomePod, with the benefit of being able to tap to Favourite a track, view track information and lyrics, control volume and more. One disadvantage of using the iPhone to control the HomePod is the need to have an AirPlay connection, which can lead to battery drain.

If Apple added song title and album name, skip and a favourite button to the display that would make the HomePod infinitely more useable. Even better if we could view the lyrics too.

HomePod with a screen: Price

If Apple does launch a HomePod with a screen it will help the HomePod compete with devices from Google and Amazon which have combined a speaker with a screen for some time, such as the Amazon Echo Show. But it will need to be priced favorably to compete in that market.

You can buy the Echo Show 10 on Amazon U.S. for $249.99 or Amazon U.K. for £259.99 and the Echo Show 15 on Amazon U.S. for $239.99 or Amazon U.K. for £239.99.)

The standard HomePod currently costs $299/£299 while the HomePod mini costs $99/£99.

If Apple adds a screen to the standard HomePod and removes the current model from sale we could see a similar $299/£299 price point. There may be a longer wait before the screen comes to the HomePod mini.

HomePod with screen: Design

According to Ming-Chi Kuo in March 2023, Apple “will unveil a redesigned HomePod featuring a 7-inch panel” in 2024. That’s not much smaller than the iPad mini, which has an 8.3-inch display. (Incidentally, an update to the iPad mini is expected in 2023).

This tallies with what Gurman originally suggested in April 2021. He described a high-end speaker with a touch screen that would combine an iPad with a HomePod speaker and a camera mounted on a robotic arm that could follow the user around the room during a video chat. The screen would also offer multi-touch functionality. 

To get an idea of how this could look we need only look at the Amazon Echo Show 10, which combines a display that moves automatically with Amazon’s speaker. The Echo Show 10 costs $249.99 / £259.99.

The Echo Show 10 has a screen attached to a speaker. Apple might do something similar with the HomePod.

Foundry / Jim Martin

Swiss website Handy Abovergleich and designer Eric Huismann have created a series of concept illustrations of how this new generation of HomePod could look. They have come up with concept designs for two separate devices: the HomePod TV (a mixture of the HomePod and the Apple TV) and the HomePod Show (a HomePod with a touchscreen display).

Here’s how they imagine the HomePod Show—a speaker with a camera and a touchscreen—could look.

HomePod with screen: Specs and features

We don’t know much about what the HomePod with a display will look like, but here’s what we expect in terms of specs and features for the new device:

Processor

The HomePod that launched in January 2023 featured the same S7 chip as the Apple Watch Series 7. We expect that a HomePod with a screen will use a more powerful processor, perhaps the same A15 chip as the iPad mini.

Camera

The new HomePod could feature a camera, as is rumored in the Bloomberg piece from 2021. With a camera incorporated into the HomePod, it would be possible to participate in a video conference using FaceTime without an iPhone or iPad.

A camera could also be used to recognize gestures. Some years ago a patent was filed that related to a future HomePod that could interpret 3D hand gestures. That patent describes a HomePod that can “interpret three-dimensional hand gestures as a means of controlling the device so as to execute an action or function.”

Multi-touch display

We’re hoping that Apple will give us something that will compete with the Echo Show, so we can view YouTube videos and use apps on the new hybrid device. Perhaps we won’t get the display we are hoping for, but a more interactive display than the one we have currently would be great. We’d like to see more than just volume controls and a Siri animation.

Will Apple combine HomePod and Apple TV?

A Bloomberg report from Gurman back in April 2021 discussed Apple’s plans for two future Apple products which do seem to indicate that Apple was at least considering making a HomePod with a screen. These rumored products included:

A product that fuses the HomePod and Apple TV with a camera that could be used for video conferencing via the TV screen.

A product that combines a smart speaker with a touch screen – it could combine an iPad with a HomePod and mount a camera on a robotic arm that could actually follow the user around the room during a video chat.

Combining the HomePod and Apple TV does look like something that is being investigated by Apple. The Bloomberg report above mentions it, but that wasn’t the first indication that something like this was planned.

In April 2020 it emerged that Apple had switched the software on the HomePod from iOS to tvOS. Such a move could make it even easier to merge those products in the future.

What’s less obvious is what Apple would achieve by combining the HomePod and Apple TV, those looking for audio improvements can already use the HomePod as the audio output of their Apple TV.

Swiss website Handy Abovergleich did come up with an illustration of how this might look (above). They call this one the HomePod TV–the bar under the TV becomes not only the hub for TV, internet, and smart devices but also a sound system with support for standards such as Dolby Atmos and Apple Lossless.

For more ideas about how Apple might reinvent the HomePod read: How the HomePod can be Apple’s new iPod: Fun, popular, and simple. Plus, Could Apple’s rumored HomePod actually be a tiny Studio Display? and Why Apple needs a HomePod with a screen.

Foundry / Jim Martin

Apple TV, Audio, HomePod

​Macworld Macworld

Apple’s original smart speaker, the HomePod, first went on sale in February 2018, followed by the HomePod mini in November 2020. The original HomePod was then discontinued in March 2021, only for Apple to reintroduce the larger speaker in January 2023, indicating that it wasn’t done with the smart speaker market yet. And now, rumors are heating up about another update to the HomePod coming: a HomePod with a screen.

The rumor that Apple intends to launch a new HomePod equipped with a screen and combining features from other Apple devices isn’t a new one. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman wrote about Apple’s plans for a HomePod with a screen back in 2021 when he suggested that Apple was developing “new speakers with screens and cameras”. He also suggested that a product that combines the Apple TV and HomePod could be on the way.

Read on to find out what’s in store for the HomePod and how Apple is improving its speaker, with rumors indicating that the next model may be larger, feature a screen, and offer the ability to host conference calls.

HomePod with screen: Release date

Spring 2024 launch is possible.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman first spoke of Apple’s plans for a HomePod with a screen back in March 2021. At the time he claimed that the launch was not imminent. He even warned that the new product might never hit the market. However, over the months and years since that first report, the evidence has been mounting that there is an Apple HomePod with a display in the pipeline.

A Bloomberg report from Mark Gurman back in May 2021 briefly mentioned Apple’s plans to so sell hybrid HomePod products. And in April 2022 Gurman referred to these plans again, stating that Apple is “absolutely” still working on a new HomePod, which Gurman says will combine a HomePod, Apple TV, and FaceTime camera into a single “combination product will probably be at the center of Apple’s approach.”

As time has passed more and more evidence that such a device is in the works at Apple has emerged, and now it looks like we could be seeing something very soon.

The latest evidence that such a product is coming was found in the tvOS 17.4 beta in February 2024. The third beta version of tvOS 17.4 references a device codenamed Z314 that features an A15 chip and runs tvOS. Both the HomePod and Apple TV already run tvOS. According to a 9to5Mac report, hangtracerd (which is used to debug unresponsive UIs) has also been added to the HomePod version of tvOS 17.4, a big indication that there will be a HomePod with a display. tvOS 17.5 could arrive as soon as March 6, 2024. Apple could be set to hold a spring Apple Event in late March or April.

In October 2023 there was yet more evidence of such a device when ‘Kotsutami’ posted (in a now-deleted tweet) an image of what they claimed to be a prototype of the next HomePod with “different glass” for the display at the top (which could be used as a touchscreen).

An Engineering build HomePod frameshell with a completely different glass on top- it’s set for touchscreen, with black bezelThe design of shell is similar to HomePod 2nd gen’s, not the 1st gen—it stands  might decided add 🖥️ for 2’s but not at last, OR it’s next generation pic.twitter.com/W5zRIVGPiK 

Kosutami (@KosutamiSan) October 21, 2023

9to5Mac claimed to have sources that verified Kotsutami’s pictures as legitimate. That site also reported that the codename of the HomePod is B720, and that Apple is using a version of tvOS with rewritten Apple Music and Podcasts apps that are suited to the display of the prototype HomePod which could show colors based on the album art while audio is playing, and show notifications.

Back in March 2023 analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also wrote about Apple’s smart-home plans. He indicated that Apple “will unveil a redesigned HomePod featuring a 7-inch panel in 1H24,” and that this device “could enable tighter integration with Apple’s other hardware products.” Kuo gives the expected release date for the HomePod with a screen as the first half of 2024.

HomePod with screen: Why we need one

Apple’s HomePod relies on voice control via Siri or AirPlay control via an iPhone or iPad. Using Siri to control HomePod music playback can be frustrating and overly complex thanks to the feeling that you need to know exactly which instructions to give to get Siri to, for example, skip a track. Those who prefer a visual interface may use their iPhone to control music playback on their HomePod, with the benefit of being able to tap to Favourite a track, view track information and lyrics, control volume and more. One disadvantage of using the iPhone to control the HomePod is the need to have an AirPlay connection, which can lead to battery drain.

If Apple added song title and album name, skip and a favourite button to the display that would make the HomePod infinitely more useable. Even better if we could view the lyrics too.

HomePod with a screen: Price

If Apple does launch a HomePod with a screen it will help the HomePod compete with devices from Google and Amazon which have combined a speaker with a screen for some time, such as the Amazon Echo Show. But it will need to be priced favorably to compete in that market.

You can buy the Echo Show 10 on Amazon U.S. for $249.99 or Amazon U.K. for £259.99 and the Echo Show 15 on Amazon U.S. for $239.99 or Amazon U.K. for £239.99.)

The standard HomePod currently costs $299/£299 while the HomePod mini costs $99/£99.

If Apple adds a screen to the standard HomePod and removes the current model from sale we could see a similar $299/£299 price point. There may be a longer wait before the screen comes to the HomePod mini.

HomePod with screen: Design

According to Ming-Chi Kuo in March 2023, Apple “will unveil a redesigned HomePod featuring a 7-inch panel” in 2024. That’s not much smaller than the iPad mini, which has an 8.3-inch display. (Incidentally, an update to the iPad mini is expected in 2023).

This tallies with what Gurman originally suggested in April 2021. He described a high-end speaker with a touch screen that would combine an iPad with a HomePod speaker and a camera mounted on a robotic arm that could follow the user around the room during a video chat. The screen would also offer multi-touch functionality. 

To get an idea of how this could look we need only look at the Amazon Echo Show 10, which combines a display that moves automatically with Amazon’s speaker. The Echo Show 10 costs $249.99 / £259.99.

The Echo Show 10 has a screen attached to a speaker. Apple might do something similar with the HomePod.Foundry / Jim Martin

Swiss website Handy Abovergleich and designer Eric Huismann have created a series of concept illustrations of how this new generation of HomePod could look. They have come up with concept designs for two separate devices: the HomePod TV (a mixture of the HomePod and the Apple TV) and the HomePod Show (a HomePod with a touchscreen display).

Here’s how they imagine the HomePod Show—a speaker with a camera and a touchscreen—could look.

HomePod with screen: Specs and features

We don’t know much about what the HomePod with a display will look like, but here’s what we expect in terms of specs and features for the new device:

Processor

The HomePod that launched in January 2023 featured the same S7 chip as the Apple Watch Series 7. We expect that a HomePod with a screen will use a more powerful processor, perhaps the same A15 chip as the iPad mini.

Camera

The new HomePod could feature a camera, as is rumored in the Bloomberg piece from 2021. With a camera incorporated into the HomePod, it would be possible to participate in a video conference using FaceTime without an iPhone or iPad.

A camera could also be used to recognize gestures. Some years ago a patent was filed that related to a future HomePod that could interpret 3D hand gestures. That patent describes a HomePod that can “interpret three-dimensional hand gestures as a means of controlling the device so as to execute an action or function.”

Multi-touch display

We’re hoping that Apple will give us something that will compete with the Echo Show, so we can view YouTube videos and use apps on the new hybrid device. Perhaps we won’t get the display we are hoping for, but a more interactive display than the one we have currently would be great. We’d like to see more than just volume controls and a Siri animation.

Will Apple combine HomePod and Apple TV?

A Bloomberg report from Gurman back in April 2021 discussed Apple’s plans for two future Apple products which do seem to indicate that Apple was at least considering making a HomePod with a screen. These rumored products included:

A product that fuses the HomePod and Apple TV with a camera that could be used for video conferencing via the TV screen.

A product that combines a smart speaker with a touch screen – it could combine an iPad with a HomePod and mount a camera on a robotic arm that could actually follow the user around the room during a video chat.

Combining the HomePod and Apple TV does look like something that is being investigated by Apple. The Bloomberg report above mentions it, but that wasn’t the first indication that something like this was planned.

In April 2020 it emerged that Apple had switched the software on the HomePod from iOS to tvOS. Such a move could make it even easier to merge those products in the future.

What’s less obvious is what Apple would achieve by combining the HomePod and Apple TV, those looking for audio improvements can already use the HomePod as the audio output of their Apple TV.

Swiss website Handy Abovergleich did come up with an illustration of how this might look (above). They call this one the HomePod TV–the bar under the TV becomes not only the hub for TV, internet, and smart devices but also a sound system with support for standards such as Dolby Atmos and Apple Lossless.

For more ideas about how Apple might reinvent the HomePod read: How the HomePod can be Apple’s new iPod: Fun, popular, and simple. Plus, Could Apple’s rumored HomePod actually be a tiny Studio Display? and Why Apple needs a HomePod with a screen.

Foundry / Jim Martin

Apple TV, Audio, HomePod 

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