It took a couple of years, but Apple has finally announced HomePod Mini, a smart speaker that’s priced to compete with affordable offerings from competitors Google, Amazon, and Sonos. The revised HomePod is a cheaper, less powerful cousin to the steeply priced HomePod that Apple released in 2018, arriving on November 16 at $99 (BWP1133.50). At just 3.3 inches tall, HomePod mini is packed with innovative technologies and advanced software that together enable computational audio to deliver breakthrough audio quality wherever it is placed.
“HomePod mini has everything customers want in a smart speaker — amazing sound for listening to music, a world-class intelligent assistant that delivers a personal experience to each member of the household, and like every Apple product, it’s designed with privacy and security in mind,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “HomePod mini is the ultimate smart speaker for anyone with an Apple device. It works effortlessly with iPhone to hand off music, answer calls, or deliver personalized listening suggestions, elevates the sound from Apple TV, plays music from a Mac, and so much more. There’s a lot of Apple innovation packed into such a small speaker, all at an affordable price.”
The new HomePod mini features an Apple S5 chip, which Apple says allows for “computational audio” processing to adjust how your music sounds 180 times per second. Multiple HomePod mini speakers can also play music in sync, and “intelligently” create stereo pairing when placed in the same room. Apple is also using the U1 chips that it debuted in last year’s iPhones to create a better Handoff experience later this year.
Also coming later this year: Apple’s promised support for third-party music services, a list that will include Pandora, Amazon Music, and iHeartRadio — but notably, not Spotify.
Apple also announced that HomePod Mini will sync up with any other HomePod family products in the same home—and demonstrated this with two of the new, smaller units on the same shelf, acting as a veritable “stereo” arrangement. All HomePod products will soon be updated with “Intercom,” a feature that lets users speak into one HomePod and have the voice message play on another speaker unit. In good hands-free news, this feature will also work with Apple CarPlay.
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