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Next HomePod and Apple Watch might not have the upgrades you want

Apple has always been so modest with its hardware upgrades that some critics even consider it stingy. The company doesn’t change its formula too often, but when it does, it’s definitely making a lot of noise. Given that, it shouldn’t be too surprising that there are times when new Apple devices sound almost boring. It seems that the company will enter such a time with some of its accessories to offset the excitement that the new M2 MacBook Air and iPadOS 16 are causing.

That could spell some trouble for Apple’s smart home ecosystem, especially since the HomePod smart speakers are showing their age – especially considering how late the product’s arrival was in the first place. Also, based on a new leak at least, it appears that the upcoming Apple Watch Series 8 may not be as exciting of an update as some fans were hoping, at least when it comes to hardware performance.

HomePod 2

Ksenia Toyechkina/Shutterstock

Apple announced the existence of the HomePod in mid-2017, but it took almost a year for the product to finally launch. The company’s first smart speaker received a mixed reception, which wasn’t too surprising given how far Apple had allowed competitors like Amazon and Google to take the lead in this lucrative market. The original HomePod was also quickly discontinued in 2021, being replaced by the smaller HomePod Mini, which launched in 2020. Since then, at least until now, there hasn’t been a word about a new speaker.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman claims there’s a new HomePod coming next year, and its biggest change will reportedly be an upcoming Apple S8 processor (via 9to5Mac). This is the same silicon that powers the Apple Watch Series 8 and is an upgrade over the Apple S5 found on the HomePod Mini. While there will likely be some other upgrades over the original, larger HomePod, including the ability for multi-touch controls, the tech journalist says the size and audio performance will be almost the same as the original. While the HomePod is no slouch in this regard, it’s still a bit disappointing that Apple might not give the HomePod 2 an overdue audio upgrade.

Apple Watch Series 8

Likewise, Gurman has no encouraging news on Apple’s next batch of smartwatches. For example, the Apple Watch Series 8, due out later this year, will reportedly feature the aforementioned Apple S8 processor, but said to have the same specs as the current Apple S7 chip. To make matters worse, the Apple S7 is virtually identical to the Apple S6 in 2020’s Apple Watch Series 6. Granted, none of these Apple Watches have fared badly, but it’s again disheartening that there’s very little progress on this front – assuming the leak is correct, of course.

The theme continues with the Apple Watch SE 2, which Gurman says will stick with the same display size as its predecessor. That means it won’t be following in the footsteps of the established Apple Watch Series 7, which introduced a larger screen for nearly the same physical dimensions. This second-generation Apple Watch SE will replace the Apple Watch 3 when the latter is discontinued later this year, becoming the new mid-tier option for Apple wearables.

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DevanCole

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