Apple has already announced that it’s releasing a smart home speaker called the HomePod, and it seems probable that we’ll hear more about it at the iPhone launch event on Tuesday. The device won’t actually go on sale until December, but we’re starting to see quite a few HomePod photo leaks lately. This could mean that Apple or its suppliers are increasing their testing of the device to make sure it works like it should when it finally lands in the hands of consumers around the holidays.
HomePod photo leaks discovered
One of the HomePod photo leaks was posted by an Instagram user who seems to be in Shanghai, as that’s the location the photo has tagged. It looks like the photo was taken in the user’s kitchen, and the device looks like it could be Apple’s smart speaker. The charging cable that can be seen in the picture even looks like the cables Apple includes with its devices, although it’s not plugged into the wall.
One thing Chinese consumers in particular are very aware of is the large number of Apple device knock-offs that are made. In past years, Chinese manufacturers have managed to put knock-offs of the company’s upcoming devices on sale before the real thing even becomes available. For example, there was a fake Apple Watch on sale in China more than a month before the real deal went up for sale in 2015.
Many of Apple’s devices are made in China, which is probably why it’s so easy for Chinese manufacturers to create fakes so quickly. However, this could also mean that someone who works at a factory that makes the HomePod is trying one out in their home, either with or without permission.
Apple’s HomePod also spotted in California
The other of the two HomePod photo leaks actually came from someone who’s well-known. Benedict Evans, a venture capitalist with Andreessen Horowitz, tweeted a photo of a screenshot from his iPhone. It shows a Control Center card with listed options for devices to play media from the BBC iPlayer Radio app, and one of the output options is a device represented by an image that looks quite a bit like Apple’s HomePod. The device is simply labeled “Kitchen.”
The fact that it appeared on his iPhone as an output option means that it was somewhere close to where he was because his iPhone was asking whether he wanted to connect to it. Evans tweeted that he saw the device in Menlo Park, Calif., so it’s even more likely that an Apple employee was testing it in their home.
So if the leak out of China is just a fake, you could say that one out of two HomePod photo leaks isn’t bad.
More info on the HomePod is coming
These two HomePod photo leaks were certainly enough to excite the tech community and may even serve as a preview of what’s to come on Tuesday. Apple hasn’t said a lot about its smart speaker, although we do know that it’s set to go on sale sometime in December and be priced at around $350. The iPhone maker is taking the smart speaker trend a step further by also making it a premium speaker for playing digital media, so users can not only access Siri via the HomePod but also play music on it.