Apple announces second-generation HomePod with temperature and humidity sensors
Two years after its discontinuation, the original HomePod is back in a second-generation avatar. The new model features changes to the speaker array as well as the inclusion of temperature and humidity sensors.
The second-generation HomePod features the same 4-inch high-excursion woofer as before. The new five-horn tweeters replace the seven of the original model. The original model’s six microphones have been replaced with four new far-field microphones. There’s also an internal low-frequency calibration mic for automatic bass correction.
Like the original model, the new HomePod can perform automatic room correction by listening to feedback from the microphones and calibrating itself. The Apple S7 SoC helps with computer audio and real-time tuning.
The new HomePod also supports stereo pairing as with other HomePod models; just place two in a room and you’ll be asked if you want to pair them. In addition to functioning as stereo speakers, the HomePod can also play Dolby Atmos audio from an Apple TV 4K. As before, you need the same HomePod model to create a stereo pair because the first and second generation cannot be paired.
The new HomePod also includes temperature and humidity sensors. These can report real-time information about your surroundings and can also be used to automatically trigger certain functions, such as turning on the air conditioning or closing the blinds when a preset temperature target is reached.
Some of you may recall that these same sensors were also discovered on the HomePod mini a while ago, but were never activated. Now it looks like Apple will enable them on the HomePod mini in a future update.
The sound recognition feature can also discreetly listen for beeps from a smoke or carbon monoxide detector and send you alerts to your iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. This feature will also be enabled on the HomePod mini.
The design is largely unchanged but the new model is slightly shorter than before and a bit lighter. It is available in two colors, white and a new Midnight light gray variant, both of which come with color-matched power cables, which are now removable.
The second-generation HomePod is priced at $299, the same as the price of the original model when it was discontinued. It is available to order today and will be available on February 3.
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