Apple may be planning a cheaper $199 HomePod under Beats brand

A sketchy report published Monday would have us believe that Apple is working on a more affordable HomePod model with Beats branding that would be priced below $200.

LoveiOS relayed the Chinese-language report from Apple’s supply chain alleging (Google Translate) that the Cupertino technology giant is in talks with chip maker MediaTek regarding a cheaper version of the Siri-powered speaker.

According to an anonymous source, Apple “is preparing to announce” the device soon and will advertise it with Beats branding. The report mentions that Apple wants to grab more market share with the rumored device. It’s been estimated that HomePod moved 600,000 units in the first quarter of this year, trailing behind Google and Amazon.

HomePod currently costs $349.

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A cheaper HomePod would make lots of sense and I’m positive that is the direction Apple has always wanted to head with this particular product. If you have been following Apple even remotely, you know this is their modus operandi. They usually release one product that penetrates a market segment they previously did not participate in.

Apple then follows up with a plethora of variations of the basic model that cover a wide range of price points. That’s what they had done with the original, classic iPod that later got segmented into three distinct music layer sub-categories (iPod classic, iPod nano and iPod shuffle). The same goes for iPhone and iPad so I don’t think it’s a stretch to speculate that we might soon see several HomePod models covering multiple price points.

I’m not sure about Beats branding, but that too would make lots of sense given the popularity of the Beats name among younger, affluent consumers. I’m not sure that a cheaper HomePod will be released with Beats branding, however. But if so, we may not see a cheaper HomePod but rather a brand new Beats portable speaker with Siri intelligence and Apple’s A8 CPU built-in.

Would you be interested in HomePod if Apple released a $199 model?