After spending the best part of a year in hiding, Apple is apparently close to releasing its HomePod.
What’s more, iHelp also pointed out that the latest iOS beta includes icons for a variety of scene icons that reference turning Siri off on at least one speaker.
None of this is to say that the HomePod is going to miraculously appear out of nowhere in the immediate future, but that there is clear integration within the beta build of the next iOS release (version 11.2.5) would suggest that we’ll be hearing something from Apple in the coming weeks.
We haven’t heard much about unit production – an issue which plagued the launch of the iPhone X and apparently caused months of delays – which is fairly unusual. There would normally have been a story around Apple purchasing a large quantity of components from a particular component vendor. This would suggest that production is either being kept to a low, (perhaps anticipating a lukewarm level of demand) or Apple is producing the smart speaker entirely in house (which is unlikely).
Regardless, we will surely hear about the HomePod from Apple sooner rather than later as Apple will hope to make up the ground lost to competitors Amazon and Google, both of whom have made large strides in the smart speaker market in the time since Apple’s product was announced.