(Pocket-lint) - Apple's HomePod speaker still isn't available, but that hasn't stopped the rumour mill from talking about the next version.

According to a report by Nikkei, one of Apple's Taiwanese suppliers, Inventec Appliances, has projected that next year's model might feature facial and image recognition. David Ho, the president of Ivantec, recently told the media, "We see trends that engineers are designing smart speakers that will not only come with voice recognition but also incorporate features such as facial and image recognition."

He added: "Such AI-related features are set to make people's lives more convenient and to make the product easier to use." Notice he didn't directly mention Apple's HomePod, but reporters have speculated that he was referencing the device. Mind you, the first generation HomePod doesn't start shipping until December, though original leaks about the device suggested it'd feature facial recognition.

Imagine if Apple took the iPhone X's Face ID and applied that to HomePod so it could automatically detect who is present and switch profiles or preferences to suit that person or location. The idea isn't too far fetched, considering Apple is also mulling Face ID for iPads in 2018.

Writing by Elyse Betters.