Apple’s premium HomePod smart speaker was launched about three years ago. Without any revisions or successors, however, it has largely struggled to keep up with Amazon’s and Google’s diverse lineups. Apple may be all set to change that. A new Bloomberg report claims the company is developing a smaller and cheaper HomePod smart speaker that’s expected to arrive later this year.
The mini HomePod speaker, Bloomberg adds, will be nearly half the size of the original and feature the same fabric-encased design. Apple is planning to launch it sometime in the second half of 2020 and offer it at a lower price in an attempt to rival Amazon’s and Google’s entry-level smart speakers.
In addition, the report says at least two of the next-gen iPhones will have flat stainless steel edges instead of being curved, with more sharply rounded corners — similar to Apple’s existing line of iPad Pro tablets. It’s worth noting that the rumor falls in line with a research note analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo had published before.
Plus, new iPhones will likely swap curved displays in favor of flat ones like the 8-year-old iPhone 5, and as many as four of these models will be compatible with 5G networks. The display notch on them could be smaller too, and Apple is even said to be researching ways how it can drop the cutout altogether for future iterations.
This year, Apple will possibly introduce a pair of lower-end flagship iPhones to replace the iPhone 11. The move could part of the company’s ongoing push towards more affordable phones for regaining market share, especially in regions such as India, where its position has faltered lately. Apple is also expected to introduce the iPhone SE’s successor sometime in the next month.
The report further mentions that this year’s iPhone Pro models will carry a total of three cameras on the back, while the rest will continue to have only two. The 3D lidar system, an extra sensor that enables better Augmented Reality experiences, that Apple debuted with the latest iPad Pro will make its way exclusively to the top-tier iPhones as well.
As for the specifications, all the new iPhones will include “a significant upgrade to the processor” and the biggest of them all will have a screen slightly larger than the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s 6.5-inch panel.
Some of these new iPhones, however, could arrive multiple weeks later than normal, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted supply chains across the world. Although in countries such as China where iPhones are primarily manufactured, factories have gradually begun resuming production.
In addition to these, Apple is slated to announce a tiny, puck-shaped wireless tracking accessory called Tags that will come bundled with a leather sleeve and keychain in 2020.
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