Apple is still allegedly planning a cheaper version of its Siri-powered HomePod speaker and when it does launch, it may carry Beats branding, at least that's according to a report from Apple's supply chain, via Chinese site Sina.
We heard rumours that Apple was looking into releasing a more affordable version of the HomePod back in March, but at that time not much was known about it. The idea of Beats branding certainly wasn't suggested. This new report says Apple is having talks with MediaTek about producing the new model, which would cost $199 when it goes on sale.
The suggestion of Beats branding isn't a crazy one, since Apple owns the company and its audio technologies, but there's a good possibility that the supply chain making the report is getting a new HomePod speaker confused with a Beats branded AirPlay 2 speaker. Apple has previously said when AirPlay 2 (eventually) launches, it would arrive in all manner of wireless speakers, including those from Beats.
The current HomePod is completely dissociated with the Beats brand, so it would be unusual for a cheaper model to carry it. Instead, the new model (if it actually exists) will likely just be smaller, with smaller or drivers or may use different materials.
Because there isn't any conclusive evidence to support this rumour, it needs to be taken with a hefty pinch of salt. We'll bring you all the latest developments regarding a cheaper Apple HomePod as and when we hear them.