Concept: How Apple could turn the HomePod mini into a lovely and adorable smart display





Apple’s home strategy has been all over the place, but they finally seem to have a hit on their hands with the HomePod mini. Rumors have swirled about Apple making a HomePod with a display, but the rumor has it that the product being tested looks a lot like a speaker-mounted iPad. Instead of creating a Frankenstein product very similar to Google and Amazon products, they should take the blueprint they established with HomePod mini and use it as the basis for a unique ambient smart display.

A tilted circular display

The top surface of HomePod mini lights up with colorful Siri animations, but it can’t actually display any type of content or control. In fact, the HomePod mini has volume controls printed on the surface that would obstruct any kind of visuals. The HomePod mini’s design, however, is a nice addition to almost any space. And the vibrant colors introduced last year help add a touch of fun to dull rooms.

The HomePod mini’s light-up surface sits on top of the device, but I’m suggesting that Apple tilt the surface and add a proper touchscreen. The new angle would make it easier for users to use controls and view content. It would be much better and add more utility to the product.

Touching the HomePod touch screen

HomePod mini is already powered by Apple Watch’s S5 chip and it runs a variant of iOS called audioOS. The technology is already in place to power a small smart display. The software for this smart display could be based on watchOS and even feature faces from the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch Faces

The “HomePod touch”, as I like to call it, might start with a customizable clock that lets you choose from a handful of circular Apple Watch faces. Below you can see what Utility and Mickey Mouse faces would look like on HomePod. This new feature would turn the HomePod mini into a particularly effective bedside alarm clock.

Utility and Mickey Mouse clock faces

Commands for applications

But a clock isn’t the main reason HomePod mini should gain a display. It should earn a display for utility. You can ask Siri to show home touch controls for lights and other accessories. The HomePod mini is great for calls as it offers vastly improved sound. A screen can show the name of the person you’re talking to, a mute button, an end button, call duration, and more.

The space gray HomePod touch is said to have a consistent black background that works great with watchOS user interfaces. The white HomePod touch could use an evergreen white background that complements the physical design of the product. I imagine the HomePod touch with an LCD screen rather than an OLED to allow for the persistent colored backgrounds, especially since the screen would be on at all times, removing any sort of fear of burn-in and keeping the price down .

HomeKit light controls and a phone call

Media controls

The main feature of the HomePod mini is the speaker. It is ideal for Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and as a speaker for Apple TV. Currently, you can use double and triple taps to move between content, but a display would show album artwork and more controls. The circular display could even be used for a smooth ring style progress indicator.

Tapping on the album art could fill the entire circular display with it. A simple swipe on the album cover would let you skip forward and backward.

Music controls and podcast controls

Fun and fresh colors

The new colors Apple introduced for the HomePod mini in November gave the product a breath of fresh air. The yellow and orange colors in particular really brighten up a space. Colors were very hard to come by and helped the HomePod mini gain popularity.

For the HomePod touch, Apple could offer green, blue, and pink options as well as white and space gray. They would all have matching braided cables like the standard HomePod mini and rubber bottoms to stay in place on a table.

Green, Blue, Pink, White, and Space Gray HomePod touch models

Pricing strategy

The HomePod touch would indeed be the current HomePod mini and its super speaker coupled with a small Retina screen. The current HomePod mini is priced at $99, and the HomePod touch would effectively add a built-in Apple Watch. You can turn to the $199 Apple Watch Series 3 and ditch all the health sensors, waterproofing, and more expensive materials. HomePod touch would ideally be priced at $199 and would be a clear step up from the HomePod mini.

The display and additional features would make a good case for any consumer buying a simple smart home speaker. And customers who already have HomePod mini can seamlessly add HomePod touch to their current setup. You can even create stereo pairs with HomePod touch and HomePod mini.

Conclusion

What do you think of this HomePod touch idea? Would you buy a HomePod mini with a circular screen and a variant of watchOS? Let us know in the comments below!

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