An Apple soundbar might be on the best way, merging Apple TV with the spectacular audio processing and voice management of the HomePod. It is purely a hearsay at this stage, nevertheless it sounds prefer it might be a match made in heaven. Here is every part we all know in regards to the Apple soundbar up to now…
Again in March we reported that the subsequent HomePod might characteristic a built-in digicam. We adopted that up with information that the new Apple TV video streamer could feature a built-in speaker. Currently, the final consensus has been Apple is engaged on a product designed to take over your front room – probably a soundbar with streaming smarts.
In fact, Cupertino has but to verify whether or not or not an Apple soundbar (or ‘iBar’, as some have dubbed it) is on the playing cards however hypothesis is rising. So what is the reality? Might Apple be about to carry its streaming magic to a soundbar? How a lot would the Apple soundbar price and would it not assist Dolby Atmos?
Listed below are our ideas on the potential Apple soundbar, and all of the rumours up to now…
Apple soundbar: launch date
Whereas market-leaders Amazon and Google enthusiastically added their sensible residence expertise to TVs, audio system, lightbulbs, plugs and clocks, Apple waited patiently till 2018 to launch its first sensible speaker (the now discontinued HomePod).
That cautious strategy ensured a high-quality system and spawned final 12 months’s sensible HomePod Mini, however there’s little doubt Apple would like to be entrance and centre of the linked residence.
In an try and play catch-up, Apple merged its HomePod and Apple TV engineering teams in 2020. The pondering appeared to be that by unifying its audio and streaming departments Apple would give start to its most bold sensible residence system but.
Given the latest demise of the HomePod, an Apple soundbar might be simply what Cupertino wants if its to steal a match on Amazon and Google. Seen via that lens, there isn’t any time to lose. If Apple is engaged on its first-ever soundbar, we would anticipate to see it land in 2021 or 2022.
Apple soundbar: value
There are numerous theories as to the configuration of the rumoured Apple soundbar. Some say it will likely be a voice-controlled soundbar, others assume it will likely be a soundbar with each voice controls and a few type of built-in show and digicam (through Bloomberg).
Maybe there might be varied fashions? As for the worth, the mixed price of a HomePod and Apple TV 4K might give us an excellent indication of what the bottom mannequin Apple soundbar may go for…
The present Apple TV 4K set-top field begins at £179 ($179, AU$249) for the 32GB model, whereas the HomePod sensible speaker debuted at £319 ($349, AU$499) when it launched in 2018. If the Apple soundbar merges these two applied sciences, it might hit the cabinets at round £550 ($550, AU$800).
In fact, it is purely hypothesis at this level however there isn’t any doubt Apple is understood for designing premium merchandise at premium costs. Certainly, Cupertino is alleged to be engaged on a $3000 mixed reality headset, so do not anticipate the Apple soundbar to go for a track, particularly if it needs to beat the best soundbars in the marketplace.
Apple soundbar: design
In our evaluate of the HomePod Mini, we praised its “seamless material mesh” and “stylish and alluring” gentle panel. We additionally took a shine to its modern styling, which eschews bodily buttons in favour of Siri voice controls and AirPlay 2. Might the design of the Apple soundbar take its lead from the HomePod Mini? We might don’t have any complaints if that was the case.
In fact, it will likely be fascinating to see if the Apple soundbar is a Roku Streambar-sized system, or one thing greater just like the Sonos Beam and even Sonos Arc. Maybe there might be household of Apple soundbars?
Given the recognition of the baseball-sized HomePod Mini (£99, $99, AU$149) there’s each probability Apple might go for a compact design. Then once more, the urge for food for ever-increasing TV display sizes might imply we see a super-sized Apple soundbar, loaded with drivers for a extra cinematic sound.
As but, there aren’t any leaked photographs of the Apple soundbar and no clues as to its dimension, however we’ll replace you as and when information breaks.
Apple soundbar: options
Apple tried valiantly to make the 2018 HomePod work higher with the Apple TV set-top field, even including a ‘House Theater’ mode in 2020 however the plan by no means fairly got here collectively.
Might the rumoured Apple soundbar be the reply to that conundrum? On paper, combining the may of Apple TV, the corporate’s high-end streaming field, with the Dolby Imaginative and prescient-capable Apple TV+ streaming service and the HomePod speaker, with its 360-degree sound, seems to be a profitable formulation.
Spec-wise, the brand new Apple TV (due late 2021) is strongly rumoured to assist a 120Hz frame rate and next-generation Siri voice controls, so we would anticipate any Apple soundbar to match that. AirPlay 2, Apple’s proprietary wi-fi audio and video streaming expertise, appears like a given, too.
If this report is on the cash, the Apple soundbar might boast a digicam. It will actually make FaceTiming from the couch quite a bit much less trouble than holding up an iPhone. There’s additionally speak of the digicam getting used for watch events, permitting customers to carry their mates into their front room (just about) and dissect occasion TV in actual time.
As for energy, there’s each probability the Apple soundbar might be powered by the rumoured A14X Bionic chipset stated to characteristic within the new Apple TV and new iPad Pro. The nippy little chunk of silicon is alleged to be quicker than a present MacBook Professional and will ship ‘video games console-like efficiency’ in keeping with analysts.
The present Apple TV helps each Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos sound (extra on that under) so we would anticipate to see the Apple soundbar tote each applied sciences. A Siri distant management appears seemingly, too.
Final however not least, it is price noting that the Apple TV+ streaming service is seemingly looking to ramp up production to Netflix-like ranges within the coming years. If that’s the case, an Apple soundbar with streaming smarts might be the right solution to distribute tomorrow’s Apple Originals.
Apple soundbar: sound
Again in 2018 we topped the HomePod “the best-sounding sensible speaker” and awarded it 5 stars, praising its potential to “ship the essence of every part you play… from Bach to Band of Horses, Bonobo to Bob Marley”. The occasion did not final lengthy, although, and HomePad was canned in 2020, reportedly resulting from poor gross sales.
The excellent news? Apple might be set to pour the HomePod’s spectacular sonic talents into the Apple soundbar. Given Apple’s knack for extracting spacious audio from nearly any system, whether or not it is a pair of AirPods Max headphones or an iPhone 12, we would anticipate above-average efficiency from the Apple soundbar.
As for immersive, 3D object-based audio, the present Apple TV 4K set-top field already helps Dolby Atmos so it is appears seemingly that the Apple soundbar will boast upward-firing drivers and thus be Atmos-capable.
Apple soundbar: early verdict
The Apple soundbar is solely a hearsay at this level – and a gossamer-thin one at that. However the extra we give it some thought, the extra it appears seemingly Apple already has the entire items in place, and will simply merge them collectively right into a critically good soundbar.
A one-box answer that provides Apple TV and high-quality sound to an present TV will surely be handy. And if the success of the Roku Streambar is something to go purchase, there isn’t any scarcity of demand for the soundbars with built-in streaming platforms. Over to you, Apple…
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