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Sorry, there’s no new HomePod on the way

Today’s Apple event had the rumor mills filing for extra overtime pay in hope that a new HomePod or HomePod Mini would be announced, but HomeKit users once again find themselves out in the cold. Although Apple announced quite a bit of information about upcoming products, no mention was made of its smart home presence.

The original HomePod was discontinued last year around this time, with the idea that Apple would focus all of its future efforts on the HomePod Mini. The latest announcement Apple has made regarding the Mini is the launch of new colors — yellow, orange, and blue — but even that was in November of last year. Since then, there’s been no news.

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The Apple HomePod Mini on a table near an Apple Watch and an iPhone.

HomeKit is by far the least popular of the three major smart home platforms and falls far behind both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant in terms of usability and compatibility. Much of that is because there are just fewer devices that work with HomeKit versus the others, but another major reason is that Siri just lacks features. She can’t do even half of what Alexa or Google Assistant can do. Apple’s tendency to work within a walled garden means a great ecosystem, but it isn’t one that welcomes the introduction of outside devices.

Before HomeKit becomes a force to be reckoned with and can compete with the others, Siri will need to see some serious upgrades. And before you ask, it’s clear that Apple has an interest in expanding it — iOS 14 came with several upgrades to HomeKit that made it more functional and useful, but they weren’t enough to put it on par with Alexa or Google Assistant.

HomeKit isn’t without merits. It works with Thread, has easy integration of new (compatible) devices, better security, and more. It would be a great platform, but some things need to change before it can reach its potential.

Maybe that’s why Apple didn’t make announcements. Perhaps something is in the works and will be announced at some point in the future. For now, though, HomeKit fans are left to wonder what’s next for the platform.

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