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By Dan Moren for Macworld
To beat Google in the speaker war, Apple needs to deploy its secret mini weapon
Apple tends not to be a first mover when it comes to new technologies, which often leads to the popular phenomenon of pundits declaring that the company “needs” to make such-and-such a product. But the real issue when it comes to Apple’s devices is that it often seems like the company dips its toe in the waters of a product category…then quickly pulls back as it feels the icy waters.
Perhaps the best example in recent years is the HomePod. Smart speakers were a category that Apple entered well after other companies like Amazon and Google had rushed to market, but it proved to be a case where not only did Apple’s entry not dominate–the original HomePod was discontinued three years after it was first released, replaced by the cheaper HomePod mini. But the category itself has proved simultaneously popular and yet, in some high-profile cases, unprofitable.
Still, the HomePod mini’s second anniversary has come and gone with no updates to the device, making me worry about its future. So I’m here to plead on behalf of the smart speaker: not only do I hope Apple doesn’t send the HomePod mini to a farm upstate like its big sibling, but I’d like to see Apple invest more in the category. Specifically, I’d like to see Apple ship a HomePod with a screen.