IN the wake of lukewarm sales of its debut HomePod smart speaker, Apple is apparently already planning a budget Beats follow-up.
The new audio device will reportedly be powered by the company's Siri voice assistant and cost $199 – which should amount to £199 in the UK.
That's considerably cheaper than the £319 HomePod, but still more expensive than its successful rivals – considering you can grab an Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini for as little as £50 each.
Though it makes sense for Apple to expand its smart speaker range (and adding its well-known audio brand Beats to the mix could be a smart move too), additional reports claim this latest rumour may have its signals crossed.
It doesn't help that it comes from a wayward Chinese site that claims the tip came from Apple's supply chain.
As 9to5Mac notes, Apple's suppliers may be confusing the new product with a regular Beats speaker without Siri's AI smarts.
Instead, the new boombox could just tout AirPlay 2: Apple's refreshed streaming tech that lets you blast tunes from your MacBook, iPhone or iPad on multiple speakers via Wi-Fi.
Apple's HomePod arrived on the scene in February.
The smart speaker responds to voice commands, and uses Siri – the same software that's on your iPhone – to answer your questions, control your smart home, or help you with daily tasks.
The Alexa rival has been praised for its stellar sound quality, but Siri has proven to be its weakest link.
Earlier this year we reported on a study by Loup Ventures that found Apple's digital assistant was nowhere near as smart as rivals Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
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In a test, Apple's HomePod got 47% of questions it was asked wrong, highlighting some key issues with Siri as a digital assistant.
By comparison, Amazon's Alexa got 64% correct, while the Google Assistant stormed ahead with an 81% score.
The speaker has also been blasted for its lack of Spotify support, and the fact that you can't pair two HomePods together in a stereo configuration.
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