Apple HomePod Yes More? New Smart Speaker Debuts 2 Years After Original Discontinued
Apple introduced a new version of its HomePod smart speaker on Wednesday, almost two years after discontinuing the original. This second generation HomePod is a match in size of its predecessor, but with upgraded hardware and sensors. The new HomePod has also enhanced the Siri voice assistant’s ability to serve as a smart home hub, including identifying smoke and carbon monoxide alarm sounds and automated smart device responses to temperature and humidity changes.
Apple HomePod Homecoming
Apple is pre-selling the new HomePod in white and ‘midnight’ black for $300 ahead of a Feb. 3 release. The smart speaker looks a lot like the original HomePod, an effect enhanced by the identical name and similar size. The upgrades hidden within include five tweeters and a custom woofer, designed to work alone or in tandem with another HomePod for a stereo effect, though only if both are the new version. HomePods in several rooms can link up using AirPlay 2, however. On its own, the new HomePod can still use spatial audio to create a surround-sound effect.
“Leveraging our audio expertise and innovations, the new HomePod delivers rich, deep bass, natural mid-range, and clear, detailed highs,” Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing Greg Joswiak said. “With the popularity of HomePod mini, we’ve seen growing interest in even more powerful acoustics achievable in a larger HomePod. We’re thrilled to bring the next generation of HomePod to customers around the world.”
The new HomePod’s most notable updates center around Siri and smart home controls. The integrated temperature and humidity sensors in the smart speaker can be used to trigger automatic routines. For instance, the smart speaker might turn on a fan or adjust the blinds if it gets too warm. The voice assistant can also identify the sound of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, sending a phone alert about it. The new HomePod will also work on the rapidly expanding Matter standard for smart home devices.
The HomePod can also take up a role as a stereo paired to an Apple TV 4K and controlled by Siri on the HomePod. The smart speaker can also use the voice assistant to find Apple devices or people who are sharing their device location. Whether the new HomePod will make up for the issues the original HomePod faced is an open question. Apple dealt with long delays. security complaints as well as feature limitations and lack of connection to other voice assistants besides Siri.