5 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 residence aspirations, boasting a brand new processor and improved sound high quality, together with a temperature and humidity sensor, easier sensible residence automation, and assist for Matter—the usual that goals to make all smart home devices interoperable.
Nevertheless, this sensible speaker is almost as costly as the unique. Certain, it’s $50 much less, but it surely nonetheless prices $299. Not less than there’s nonetheless the HomePod Mini for $99. If the worth 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 seems to be an identical to its predecessor. There’s a brand new colour possibility 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 brand new HomePod is powered by an S7 processor for computational audio—yep, the identical one contained in the Apple Watch Sequence 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 expertise.” 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 outfitted with a brand new room-sensing expertise. With the flexibility to acknowledge sound reflections from close by surfaces, the HomePod can determine whether or not it’s towards a wall or freestanding and regulate the sound in response to its particular placement within the room for clearer audio. We’ve seen variations of this expertise from audio manufacturers earlier than, in addition to from smart speaker manufacturers like Google. For a extra immersive expertise, you possibly can pair two HomePod audio system for stereo sound, and sure, you too can pair it with the HomePod Mini for multiroom audio.
This new mannequin additionally contains the Extremely Wideband expertise we first noticed on the HomePod Mini again in 2021, which lets you hand off media out of your iPhone to the HomePod. You possibly can switch no matter audio is taking part in in your iPhone (like a podcast or telephone name) to the HomePod when each units are close to one another, excellent for whenever you arrive residence and need to go hands-free. With Discover My assist, you too can use the speaker to find your iPhone by taking part in a sound on the misplaced system.
As for these improved sensible residence options, you’ll now be capable of 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 obtainable at launch however will make its technique 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 obtainable in Google and Amazon sensible audio system as effectively).