Apple once prototyped HomePod with battery power

in General Discussion
Apple allegedly thought about creating a portable version of the HomePod with a battery, with a report claiming a prototype was produced but not turned into a final product.

A HomePod mini and a USB-C battery pack.
A HomePod mini and a USB-C battery pack.

Both the HomePod and the HomePod mini are designed for use indoors, with each equipped with power cables and to be plugged into an outlet. While Apple doesn't currently sell a portable version, it did once consider the possibility.

According to Mark Gurman's "Power On" newsletter, Apple is said to have worked on the idea internally, to the point that a prototype was developed an unmentioned number of years ago. While a battery-operated speaker was produced by Apple, Gurman doubts that such a device would be launched under Apple's brand.

While designed to be connected to an outlet, the HomePod mini does use a USB-C connection to connect to a charger. With a sufficiently capable USB-C battery pack, it is possible to use the HomePod mini remotely, albeit impractical.

The question surfaced in the newsletter days after Apple discontinued the Beats Pill+, a portable Bluetooth speaker. The Pill+ was the last such device sold by Beats, with the firm now seemingly focusing on other personal audio products.

Apple has produced a portable speaker in the past, with the iPod Hi-Fi boombox designed to amplify an iPod's audio. However, it was discontinued by Apple after just 18 months.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 4
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 405member
    Too bad this wasn’t produced. Instead I am using a Sonos Move on my patio right now. 
  • Reply 2 of 4
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,843member
    I don't see how they could have added a battery. It would have either had to be larger or they would have had to compromise on audio quality by adding a much smaller subwoofer. 
  • Reply 3 of 4
    mpantonempantone Posts: 2,092member
    macxpress said:
    I don't see how they could have added a battery. It would have either had to be larger or they would have had to compromise on audio quality by adding a much smaller subwoofer. 
    You are assuming that all of the prototypes were the same form factor which isn't likely.

    It's probable that Apple tested various designs in various sizes (including something approaching the iPod Hifi) and configurations. My guess is that they also tested prototypes around the size of the current HomePod mini but decided the latter wasn't ready to be shipped as an actual product.

    Apple is well known for heavily prototyping products -- most of which never see the light of day as a shipping SKU. Hell, there's no AirPower wireless charger and they've been working on that for years.

    Note that Apple also could have tested different battery technologies, most of which are likely more expensive than the commonplace lithium ion stuff. Some of these batteries might have better performance characteristics at the expense of higher cost, lower durability, etc. But if it's a commercially viable component, it has probably existed in a lab somewhere in Cupertino.

    This isn't specific to batteries. Pretty much everything: display panels, smartphone camera modules, microphones, small accelerometers, etc.
  • Reply 4 of 4
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,843member
    Bottomline, sounds like Apple figured out that a battery in this device wasn't going to work, or at least work with what they wanted to accomplish with HomePod. 
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