Xiaomi is often rebuked of copying Apple’s design for its own products. Take the Mi notebook as an example. Now, the Chinese giant is said to be looking up to Apple to derive inspiration for yet another product. This time it’s a smart speaker and it very closely resembles the HomePod.
A patent application for Xiaomi’s smart speaker has emerged online this week. It was spotted on the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) website and the accompanying schematics show off a big cylindrical smart speaker that looks much like the Apple HomePod. You can also see the power input and 3.5mm headphone jack on the rear of the speaker.
Moving past the obvious design comparison, Xiaomi will bring a bunch of new features to this smart speaker to set it apart from competitors. The biggest highlight would be a tiny, circular OLED display at the top of the speaker. It displays the connectivity status, media playback, search results, and more. You will be able to interact with them if you choose to keep this speaker on your bedside table or kitchen counter.
This OLED display will be flanked by a disc-like touch-sensitive surface. It will run around the display and serve you with playback and volume controls. This would give Xiaomi more space to work with, i.e on the display in the center, as you don’t need to cram the controls into it.
This smart speaker is expected to offer a 360-degree sound experience and will be backed by Xiaomi’s ‘Xiao AI’ voice assistant. The company already has a robust smart speaker and smart display lineup – all of them backed by Xiao AI. But, this HomePod clone could be a good fit for users looking for a cross between a speaker and a smart display.
We weren’t able to independently verify the patent application and not all patents turn into official products, so we suggest you take this with a pinch of salt. Xiaomi is yet to launch a smart speaker outside China but when it does, it will most likely be powered by Alexa (as Xiaomi has a long-running partnership with Amazon) and come with an affordable price tag.