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Home / News / Could the next Apple HomePod go horizontal as a soundbar rival?

Could the next Apple HomePod go horizontal as a soundbar rival?

Never mind screens, these rumours suggest the next Apple HomePod will go horizontal to rival soundbars with this Siri smart speaker

Horizontal HomePod patent sketch

If you’re looking for a top smart speaker and you’re in the Apple camp, your best bet is likely to be the HomePod. It’s Apple’s take on a smart speaker, cramming Siri in to do your bidding. You can pick one up in a larger or smaller size, depending on the audio you’re after. Recent rumours reckon the tech giant is going to follow suit with the Echo Show and slap a screen on there. But a new patent suggests Apple might take things horizontal to rival soundbars.

A recent patent filed with the USPTO (as spotted by AppleInsider) shows plans for a horizontal HomePods smart speaker, that looks like a soundbar. The details, sparse as they are, reveal a horizontal HomePod that swaps out the cylindrical and almost comically tiny tennis-ball look of the HomePod mini for a stretched, wide layout. Central to this design is what seems to be a Siri display, flanked by speakers tilted at a cheeky angle. It’s essentially a soundbar with a screen on the front, and Siri crammed in for smarts.

One of the more eyebrow-raising elements of this patent is the depiction of several ports on the rear. This is quite the departure from the current HomePods, which, bless them, can’t seem to connect to anything that isn’t a power cable. The idea of plugging in other sources has a bit of a unicorn myth about it for HomePod users. This would suggest that Apple really is gearing up this device to rival regular ol’ soundbars. We expect it’ll pair perfectly with an Apple TV or other Apple devices, but you’ll also be able to hook it up to the top TVs or amps.

Size-wise, this new design might lean more towards the original, larger HomePod, judging by the size of the Siri screen, but don’t hold your breath for exact dimensions. And then there’s a little design tease that makes you think of the Beats Pill, although without the familiar controls or exact shape.

Since this is a patent, this HomePod soundbar may never end up seeing the light of day. But with impressive audio from the larger HomePod, we reckon Apple’s hardware has what it takes.

Profile image of Connor Jewiss Connor Jewiss


Connor is a writer for Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website. He has been writing for around seven years now, with writing across the web and in print too. Connor has experience on most major platforms, though does hold a place in his heart for macOS, iOS/iPadOS, electric vehicles, and smartphone tech. Just like everyone else around here, he’s a fan of gadgets of all sorts! Aside from writing, Connor is involved in the startup scene. This exciting involvement puts him at the front of new and exciting tech, always on the lookout for innovating products.

Areas of expertise

Mobile, macOS, EVs, smart home

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