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The device that needs Apple Intelligence the most won’t get it

Published Jul 1st, 2024 11:15AM EDT
HomePod with a screen rumored to launch in 2024
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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Apple is expected to release the first beta version of its Apple Intelligence platform as soon as this month. Starting with selected iPhone, Mac, and iPad models, this will be the company’s moment to show how its large language models can compete with OpenAI ChatGPT, Google Gemini, and other players while focusing on on-device processing.

For now, Apple says its AI will be a beta experience, even when iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia are released later this fall. The company expects a full launch later this year, and then plans to keep building new features and support for more languages. Now, however, a report just throws a bucket of cold water on our hopes of a HomePod with Apple Intelligence.

In his Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says he doesn’t expect Apple to offer Apple Intelligence for its smart speakers as it has an unexpressive market. “Too low-volume a product to waste the engineering time,” the journalist writes. However, I feel Apple Intelligence could be the best feature HomePods could have.

As of now, Apple’s AI tackle will work with notification summaries, a Siri that understands context, and writing tools. For the HomePod, having a smarter Siri would be very handy, especially because Apple doesn’t have a device that can match Amazon or Google’s speakers in the intelligence department.

Pair of HomePod 2 featuresImage source: José Adorno for BGR

While I understand that, despite an advanced chip, Apple LLMs require at least 8GB of RAM, it seems like a missed opportunity for a product that has been discontinued and brought back to life in a few years to be ruled out of the company’s AI plans.

I think Apple’s HomePods could have been the perfect smart home hub. However, Apple just doesn’t think about this product that way. AI could definitely help me control my connected devices, set reminders, summarize notifications, and so much more, but it seems we’re stuck with a Siri that barely gets the songs you want to listen to correctly.

HomePod won’t get Apple Intelligence, but its sibling might get it

Fortunately, hope is not all lost. While we can assure HomePod 2 won’t get Apple Intelligence, Gurman writes that “an entirely new robotic device with a display that includes Apple Intelligence at its core” is in the works.

For the past few months, we heard that Apple has been working on multiple home robot products. While it’s unclear which of them will see the light of day, Gurman feels very confident that this HomePod/iPad hybrid product could be released eventually.

If that turns out to be accurate, Apple could finally have an Amazon Echo Show-like competitor with good speakers, a great image, and Apple Intelligence built-in for controlling your home, helping with receipts, and playing your favorite songs.

At least, the journalist says Apple Intelligence is expanding to Apple Vision Pro in 2025, so it makes another major product from the company to be part of its new AI efforts.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.