Five years after the unique HomePod, Apple has lastly deemed it time to launch a successor. The second-generation HomePod breathes new life into the corporate’s sensible house aspirations, boasting a brand new processor and improved sound high quality, together with a temperature and humidity sensor, easier sensible house automation, and assist for Matter—the usual that goals to make all smart home devices interoperable.
However, this sensible speaker is sort of as costly as the unique. Sure, it’s $50 much less, however it nonetheless prices $299. At least there’s nonetheless the HomePod Mini for $99. If the value doesn’t deter you, the second-generation HomePod is available for preorder and formally hits cabinets on February 3.
Wrapped in mesh cloth with a backlit contact floor on prime, the brand new HomePod appears an identical to its predecessor. There’s a brand new coloration choice although—midnight, along with the standard white. You’ll get a color-matched woven energy cable, which is all the time a pleasant contact.
The extra notable enhancements are on the within. The new HomePod is powered by an S7 processor for computational audio—yep, the identical one contained in the Apple Watch Series 7—which is supposedly a large improve from the A8 chip on the unique. When it’s mixed with the high-excursion woofer, inner bass-EQ mic, and an array of 5 tweeters, Apple says you’ll get a “groundbreaking listening experience.” Par for the course on Applespeak, however the audio high quality was by no means certainly one of our points with the HomePod.
It now comes geared up with a brand new room-sensing know-how. With the flexibility to acknowledge sound reflections from close by surfaces, the HomePod can establish whether or not it’s in opposition to a wall or freestanding and alter the sound based on its particular placement within the room for clearer audio. We’ve seen variations of this know-how from audio manufacturers earlier than, in addition to from smart speaker manufacturers like Google. For a extra immersive expertise, you’ll be able to pair two HomePod audio system for stereo sound, and sure, you may also pair it with the HomePod Mini for multiroom audio.
This new mannequin additionally consists of the Ultra Wideband know-how we first noticed on the HomePod Mini again in 2021, which lets you hand off media out of your iPhone to the HomePod. You can switch no matter audio is taking part in in your iPhone (like a podcast or telephone name) to the HomePod when each gadgets are close to one another, excellent for if you arrive house and need to go hands-free. With Find My assist, you may also use the speaker to find your iPhone by taking part in a sound on the misplaced gadget.
As for these improved sensible house options, you’ll now be capable to use your HomePod to hear for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms utilizing its Sound Recognition characteristic (initially launched with iOS 14). Weirdly, this received’t be accessible at launch however will make its option to the speaker through a software program replace in June. If the HomePod detects these sounds, it’ll ship a notification to your iPhone instantly (these options are already accessible in Google and Amazon sensible audio system as effectively).