Apple’s HomePod Gets Price Cut

An Apple Store employee prepares to sell Apple HomePod at an Apple Store.
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Apple has decided to cut the price of its HomePod by $50, making the new price of the smart speaker $299 down from the original $349, according to a report from The Verge.

The tech company announced its first attempt at creating a smart speaker in 2017 and officially launched the device later, in early 2018. The smart speaker is cylindrical in shape and comes with a small touchscreen on top. The speaker comes Siri-enabled and is powered by Apple’s A8 chip. The HomePod has previously been temporarily discounted by third-party retailers but this price reduction is permanent and has already been updated on Apple’s website, according to a report from TechCrunch.

The unexpected discount has led many to believe that Apple is preparing to launch the second iteration of the smart speaker.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, it’s rumored that Apple could be launching the HomePod 2 later this year. According to an Apple patent application, it’s believed that the new device may feature Face ID and have the ability to recognize “hand gestures and other three-dimensional gesture input.” If this is the case, it means users will now be able to control the HomePod by waving or clapping their hands.

If Apple does include Face ID in an updated version of the HomePod, it could also push the speaker closer to being able to separate users with individual user profiles.

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Apple's HomePod is out today, but is it worth $349? The Siri-enabled device is all about the music first, and about smart assistant stuff second. The HomePod isn’t just one speaker, it’s actually eight of them, all controlled by Apple’s own A8 processor and tons of custom software. The HomePod’s power cord is built in and wrapped in fabric, and on top, there are LED-backlit volume buttons and a display that acts more as a touch surface. However, Siri just can’t do nearly as many tasks as Alexa or Google Assistant. And the HomePod is tightly locked inside Apple’s ecosystem. It’s tied more closely to a single iPhone and iCloud account than any other smart speaker. Despite all of this, it is, by all accounts, a superb speaker for its size. ???? @happicamp

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David Ho, the president of Apple supplier Inventec, has previously said his company has noticed a growing trend of companies moving toward including both facial and image recognition technology into smart speakers.

“We see trends that engineers are designing smart speakers that will not only come with voice recognition but also incorporate features such as facial and image recognition,” Ho told reporters, according to a report from MacRumors. Jeff Pu, an analyst at Yuanta Investment Consulting, also commented on a possible HomePod update. He said also said Apple could start rolling out HomePods with 3D-sensing cameras in 2019.

Despite the recent price cut, Apple’s HomePod still remains one of the more expensive smart speakers currently available. And many have argued that compared to similar products, the HomePod simply isn’t worth the hefty price tag, especially with Siri’s limitations and the inability to fully utilize third-party streaming series.

Apple’s HomePod is now available for purchase on Apple.com for $299. This price cut also seems to span across regions, for example, the UK price has dropped from £319 to £279.