Apple announced a new smart home speaker

Two years after the original HomePod was discontinued, the product is back with the second generation.

in 2018 announce And Apple launched the HomePod smart speaker, in 2020 it came HomePod MiniProduction of the original discontinued in 2021. the left On display is a mini. In Hungary, the product category is not officially distributed, and this will not change for the time being, 2023 HomePod second generation It’s not included in the US brand’s local webstore, so anyone who wants to buy one will have to import it through Germany, for example. In the US, the speaker costs $ 299, and in the European Union Apple charges 349 euros for it, which is 138 thousand forints at today’s exchange rate. The second-generation HomePod that was announced in the press release is up for pre-order now, available from February 3, in the markets of Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, USA and UK and will reach eleven more.

To use the device, you need an iPhone running iOS 16.3 or an iPad running iPadOS 16.3, but depending on the fine print, the first generation HomePod or HomePod Mini will not be able to talk in stereo with the new generation, and two identical ones are required to use the functionality. The HomePod Mini will remain in Apple’s lineup, along with the new speaker.

HomePod second generation.
HomePod second generation. (Source: Apple) [+]

New features for the second generation HomePod include Apple Watch Series 7 S7 system chip used before, support wireless network protocol and Matter smart home protocol, the speaker can be used as a base or router. The cylindrical shape remained and the size was reduced to a minimum (the new one is 168 mm in height, 142 mm in width and 2.3 kg in weight), in addition to the black and white color and the interactive touch surface for controlling the top. A high-displacement 4-inch (20 mm) tweeter, five horn-shaped tweeters with their own neodymium magnets arranged in a block, and a total of five microphones are responsible for sound production. Among the latter, there is also one tuned to the subwoofer, tuned for low frequencies, which the device uses for automatic bass correction. The first generation HomePod worked with seven speakers and seven microphones, but according to Apple, with improved software and more powerful hardware, the new generation is capable of better real-time calibration and clearer music sounding. Location recognition remains in the device, so it detects from reflected sounds where it is in the room, and adjusts its sound accordingly. The soundbar can also be connected to a second-generation Apple TV 4K or later as an audio output (eARC) for all connected devices, and support for Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio is new. What’s left is that you can connect multiple HomePods and use them in stereo or in multiple rooms (AirPlay multiroom audio).

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The internal structure of the speaker.
The internal structure of the speaker. (Source: Apple) [+]

What’s new is that the HomePod has built-in temperature and humidity sensors, as well as a UWB chip, so all you have to do is hold the iPhone near the speaker and the phone can instantly transmit audio to the speaker via the Apple Music player. . In addition, if someone forgets where they left their phone, you can ask the HomePod via Siri to play a sound on the misplaced mobile phone, and the HomePod will also connect to the Apple Locator Network. With the help of a thermometer and humidity sensor, automation can be set with connected smart home devices, such as lowering curtains or starting heating and air conditioning if the values ​​are below/above a certain level. With Siri, you can also set up automations that start with a voice command, for example “Good morning, good eveningA new addition to this is that HomePod now provides audio feedback when a connected device in another room starts or stops. According to Apple, the environmental sounds (jungle, ocean, and rain) have been reworked and can be customized for different scenarios.

HomePod can also be used as a smart home hub if you have an iPhone.
HomePod can also be used as a smart home hub if you have an iPhone. (Source: Apple) [+]

Siri uses four microphones and can recognize six different voices, which gives a more personalized interaction. As promised, in an upcoming software update, Apple will also enable the HomePod to recognize smoke sounds and carbon monoxide detectors, which will be able to send notifications to connected iPhones if it detects an active alarm. The latter and the function that uses the temperature and humidity sensors will also be available on the HomePod Mini devices with the update, since the mini speakers also have all the necessary hardware to use them, so far the software has been limited. The update is due in April.

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A phone with a U1 chip (iPhone 11 or later) is required for automatic transfer.
A phone with a U1 chip (iPhone 11 or later) is required for automatic transfer. (Source: Apple) [+]

The HomePod can still only work with direct current, for which Apple includes a wall adapter and cable in the box. To connect to the Internet, dual-channel Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) used by the device, and Bluetooth version 5.0. Music plays automatically via the Apple Music streaming service, but you can also play the audio of items purchased on iTunes or other streaming services. TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Audacy are used for radio, while Apple Podcasts is the default option for listening to podcasts.

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