Are these leaked photos of a brand-new?
The French publications that found the images, Numerama and FrAndroid, both say yes. Meanwhile, the site AFTVNews, which has a pretty good record with Amazon product leaks, claims to be confident that the images are real, as well.
The French publications claim that the third-gen device is code-named Donut, falling right in line with the Pancake and Biscuit code names used by the first two Echo Dot smart speakers, and that the slightly bigger design will offer an uptick in sound quality.
The device appears to have the same four buttons as the current-gen model -- an activation button, a mute button and two buttons that turn the volume up and down. There also appear to be four tiny, tell-tale microphone holes beside each button, and probably one in the center as well, though it's hard to tell. At a total of five, that would be less than the seven microphones found in the second-gen Dot. There's no view of the jacks in the back, but it would be unimaginable if it didn't also include the same aux-out jack as you'll find on the current Dot, since that jack is one of its key advantages over the rival.
Speaking of the Home Mini, the supposed Dot 3.0 looks an awful lot like it, ditching the existing Dot's black or white plastic shell in favor of what looks to be grey fabric with softer edges than before. That also falls in line with, and I wonder if this new Dot -- assuming the images are real and the design all but finalized -- will also share its interchangeable shells. It's hard to tell from the grainy photos, but it seems possible that the center could pop up and out like with the Echo, letting users swap in a new fabric shell like they're switching phone cases.
Amazon has a policy of not commenting on rumors and speculation, and this case is no exception, but we'll keep our eyes open for any other sightings of this potential third-gen device.