Five years later original HomePod, Apple finally felt it was time to release a successor. The second-generation HomePod breathes new life into the company’s smart home aspirations, bringing a new processor and improved sound quality, plus a temperature and humidity sensor, easier smart home automation, and support for Matter, a standard that aims to make everything smart. compatible home devices.
However, this smart speaker is almost as expensive as the original. Sure, it’s $50 less, but it still costs $299. At least there is still a HomePod Mini. If the price doesn’t bother you, the second generation HomePod available for pre-order and will officially go on sale on February 3rd.
Wrapped in mesh fabric with a top-lit touch surface, the new HomePod looks just like its predecessor. However, there is a new color option, midnight, in addition to the traditional white. You’ll get a matching color braided power cable, which is always nice.
The most notable improvements are on the inside. The new HomePod is powered by an S7 processor for computing audio – yes, the same one found in the Apple Watch Series 7 – which is supposedly a massive upgrade from the original’s A8 chip. Paired with a high-throw woofer, a built-in microphone with bass EQ, and a five-tweeter array, you’ll get a “ground-breaking listening experience,” according to Apple. The norm for the Applespeak course, but sound quality has never been one of our problems with HomePod.
Now it is equipped with new room recognition technology. With the ability to recognize sound reflections from nearby surfaces, HomePod can determine whether it is against a wall or standing alone and adjust the sound to match its specific location in the room for clearer sound. We’ve already seen variants of this technology from audio brands as well as smart speaker makers like Google. For a more immersive experience, you can pair two HomePod speakers for stereo sound, and yes, you can also pair it with HomePod Mini for multi-room audio.
This new model also includes the ultra-wideband technology we first saw on the HomePod Mini back in 2021, allowing you to stream media from your iPhone to your HomePod. You can stream any audio playing on your iPhone (like a podcast or a phone call) to your HomePod when both devices are next to each other, perfect for when you get home and want to be hands-free. With Find Me support, you can also use the speaker to find your iPhone by playing a sound on your lost device.
As far as these improved smart home features go, you’ll now be able to use your HomePod to listen to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms with the sound recognition feature (originally launched in iOS 14). Oddly enough, this won’t be available at launch, but will appear on the speaker via a software update in June. If HomePod detects these sounds, it will immediately send a notification to your iPhone (these features are already available on Google and Amazon smart speakers).