Could Apple already be considering a lower-priced version of the HomePod?

Greg Mombert/Digital Trends

The Apple HomePod hasn’t exactly had the warmest of welcomes to the market, with customers complaining about its limited functionality — and perhaps more importantly, its price. At $349, the smart speaker, released February 9, is leaps and bounds more expensive than similar (and perhaps more useful) products from other companies like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The rumor mill has been churning, and some folks are claiming that Apple has taken note of the criticism. In fact, there are now reports suggesting that Apple could be releasing another version of the HomePod later in 2018 at a significantly lower price point.

According to a report from KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo,  “there will be a cheap version of HomePod in the second half of” this year. There is certainly precedent for this sort of move, though deciding to drop the price of a product a few months after launch does seem particularly aggressive. That said, there was the cheaper iPad released in 2017. Based on those moves, it would appear that Apple is attempting to appeal to a wider range of buyers, both marketing toward the top and bottom of the spectrum. For all the relatively inexpensive products the company puts out, it also debuts high-end smartphones (the iPhone X will set you back $1,149) and, of course, the perennially expensive MacBooks.

So how, exactly, might Apple lower the price of its HomePod? It might consider releasing a smaller version, like the Amazon Echo Dot or the Google Mini, both of which are diminutive versions of their older siblings. This would certainly slash the price while maintaining many of the same selling points — in the case of the HomePod, it’s the quality of the speaker itself.

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Forbes is highly skeptical of the veracity of the new rumor. After all, new products generally stay on the market for more than a year before Apple makes any updates — think the Apple Watch or the AirPods. As such, the notion of two HomePods arriving in the span of a single year would, quite frankly, be unprecedented. Plus, seeing as the HomePod isn’t even widely available across the globe quite yet, it seems even less likely that the company would already be working on another version, or thinking of dropping the price.

In any case, we have nine months to determine whether or not this rumor proves real, and we’ll let you know when we do.