Apple has announced a new, supposedly improved, second-generation HomePod Smart Speaker. The announcement comes just a day after the reveal of the new MacBook and Mac mini, continuing Apple’s recent trend of rolling out revised products on the heels of its keynote. The revamped HomePod is the first update to the full-sized model since its 2018 debut. It will be sold alongside its diminutive (but adorable) cousin, the HomePod mini.
Despite featuring a design similar to the original iteration, the second-generation HomePod is packed with a few new bells and whistles, including support for the new smart home standard called Matter and a temperature sensor; it is also powered via the same S7 processor found in Series 7 Apple Watches.
How does it sound? According to Apple, a custom-engineered high-excursion woofer, powerful motor that drives the diaphragm 20mm, built-in bass-EQ mic, and beamforming array of five tweeters around the base all work together to achieve a powerful acoustic experience. There’s also support for spatial audio with Dolby Atmos.
HomePod features new ways to manage everyday tasks and control the smart home. Users can be notified when a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm is detected in their home, as well as check temperature and humidity level in a room. You can also create smart home automations using Siri—for example, the new built-in temperature and humidity sensor can measure indoor environments, then close the blinds or turn on the fan automatically when a certain temperature is reached in a room.
Additionally, HomePod can recognize sound reflections from nearby surfaces to determine if it is against a wall or freestanding, and then adapts sound in real time. Precise directional control of its beamforming array of five tweeters separates and beams direct and ambient audio, immersing listeners in crystal-clear vocals and rich instrumentation.
The new HomePod is 6.6 inches high, weighs 5.16 pounds, and is a bit smaller than the first-generation model, which measured 6.8 inches and weighed 5.5 pounds. Both models have the same 5.6-inch width. Another key difference is that the new HomePod has two fewer tweeters and microphones, compared to the original model's seven.
Expect the HomePod to be available to order online starting today, with physical availability beginning Friday, February 3. It comes in white and midnight finishes and features a $299 price tag.
What are your thoughts on the new HomePod? Will you be picking one up or are you still holding on to the original version? Let us know in the Comments, below, and be on the lookout for more in-depth coverage once we’re able to spend more hands-on time with it!