Earlier this year, reports surfaced that Apple was developing a new version of its HomePod smart speaker — but this time with a built-in display. Now, leaked images have emerged that seem to confirm those rumors and provide the first glimpse of what Apple may be planning.
The leaked photo, originally posted on Twitter by a user named Kosutami, who has a proven track record of Apple leaks according to MacRumors, shows a HomePod with a significantly larger display on top compared to the current model’s small LED panel. While the size is difficult to precisely gauge from the lone image, previous rumors suggested it could be around 7 inches diagonally. It looks to have an LCD display on the top, which is a liquid-crystal display or some other electronically modulated optical device.
This display appears distinctly different than the LED matrix used on the original HomePod. The larger size and widescreen orientation suggest it is likely a full touchscreen display, unlike the non-interactive LED panel. This opens up many more possibilities for visually displaying information and touch controls.
So, what exactly will Apple use this new interactive display for?
According to reports, the main purpose is to display notifications from your iPhone using widgets, similar to the Apple Watch. This would provide quick glimpses of information like calendar events, weather, stock prices, and more.
It will also likely showcase album art and other graphics when using apps like Apple Music and Podcasts. However, the landscape orientation seems less than ideal unless you’re standing right in front of the speaker. This could limit its usefulness as a visual overview from across the room.
Notably, this doesn’t look like the rumored combination HomePod/Apple TV device some analysts have speculated about. Beyond just adding a display, many users likely hope Apple also improves other pain points like Siri’s reliability and speed, AirPlay streaming performance, and buggy multi-room audio support.
The company’s famous “it just works” reputation doesn’t always apply to its smart home products currently. Software and performance improvements will be just as important.
So, in the end, will a display make the HomePod substantially more useful? It’s hard to say definitively without hands-on testing, but it seems doubtful a modest display will be a game-changer. The real test will be whether Apple delivers a significantly upgraded overall experience when it likely unveils the new model later this year. For now, leaked images provide the best sneak peek at what may be in store.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Cottonbro Studio; Pexels; Thank you!