Apple has its own smart speaker called the HomePod, but sales are not doing well as expected due to the competition that has already asserted themselves in the market for a long time. So, the best option for Apple is to reduce the price of their HomePods and at the same time, give it the Beats branding which makes a lot of sense.
The Beats brand on its self is not doing well when it comes to sales, but combining both Beats and the HomePod might just give both brands a push forward that they need. This information comes from 9to5Mac which mentioned the cheaper alternative to HomePod as well as integrating the Beats brand to the smart speaker. Another report indicates that Apple will engage MediaTek to further bring down the price of the HomePod and it could also feature AirPlay 2. Sadly, because it comes with AirPlay 2, these cheaper HomePods might not feature Siri as Apple would want to keep their smart assistant for the premium version of the HomePods.
Again, these are just reports and rumours, as the cheaper HomePods might not even come with the Beats branding. Currently, the regular HomePods come with a $349 price tag and the new cheaper HomePods might cost only $199 which puts it at a competitive price with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, minus the smart assistant. As for release dates, it has yet to be announced, but based on a report out of China last month, the speakers could release in the middle of the year or towards the end of the year. We will know more when Apple officially releases a statement.