Apple designer Christopher Stringer is about to launch a new home audio product as part of a new “Syng” startup. Stringer left Apple in 2017 after more than 20 years with the company. Stringer is said to have left Apple in part because of Jony Ive’s retirement from product responsibilities.
The Financial Times reports that Syng plans to launch its first “Cell” home speaker in the fourth quarter of 2020. The product will use a new audio format and computational audio techniques to deliver supposedly revolutionary sound.
If this premise sounds familiar to you, it’s no surprise that several Syng employees have previously worked on Apple’s HomePod. In addition to lead designer Stringer, Syng’s list of employees includes many former Apple employees, including Afrooz Family, who have worked on space audio technology as seen in the HomePod.
We will have to see if Syng can make a dent in the home audio market when its first products go on sale. The Apple HomePod was not a huge success. The HomePod offers market-leading sound quality for its size class, but Siri’s intelligence is generally considered to be lower compared to Alexa and Google Assistant.
However, the main reason why HomePod sales have been limited is the price. The HomePod currently sells for $ 299 each, but the smart speaker market is dominated by cheaper devices like the Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini.
Apple is preparing a range of second generation HomePods for debut this year, including a cheaper “HomePod mini”. Apple is also reportedly working on new features to make HomePod more attractive, such as Siri support for other music services like Spotify.
Syng has yet to officially announce pricing for its speaker lineup, but looks like it will be closer to the premium HomePod and Sonos price range. The Financial Times also says the company hopes to license its digital audio technology to other companies.
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