Apple is working on a cheaper version of its HomePod smart speaker, with plans to sell the new product using Beats branding.
The current version of the HomePod, which uses the same Siri virtual assistant found on Apple’s iPhone, is said to have got off to a sluggish start since its launch earlier this year.
The speaker costs £319, making it a far pricier proposition than rival products such as Amazon’s Echo and Google Home.
To its credit Apple’s effort does feature best–in–class audio tech, but lacks some of the smarter, AI features of its rivals.
Sources close to Apple’s Taiwanese supply chain say the new version will cost $199 (around £199 here in the UK). Adding the Beats name may give it added cachet among younger music fans.
It’s not clear how Apple will differentiate between the two HomePods, but it seems likely the new model will come with a less powerful speaker.
With that in mind, unless the tech giant adds further functionality to take on Amazon and Google it may struggle to catch on.
Siri has long been viewed as the poor relation to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, with the virtual assistant hardly a cornerstone of the average smartphone user's day.