The HomePod is one of Apple’s mode controversial products. The original model was introduced in 2018 to some mixed reviews. So much so that Apple ended up discontinuing the product in late 2019 before introducing a smaller version called the HomePod Mini. The HomePod Mini has been around since then and has been quite a popular product for Apple. However, the company is now reviving the discontinued larger model with a second-generation unit that boasts some new features.
For the most part, the new HomePod isn’t much different from the 2018 model. Apple claims it packs better sound quality, spatial audio, support for wireless protocol Thread and the smart home standard Matter. This will allow the HomePod to control compatible accessories. It also comes packed with an upgrade S7 chip making it faster and well, more powerful.
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Apple has reduced the amount of tech inside the HomePod. The original includes a single four-inch woofer and seven tweeters. The new model only includes five tweeters. The company says the new HomePod can still detect where it is positioned in a room and adjust its sound accordingly. You can also pair the new HomePod with another new HomePod for stereo speaker support on Apple TV 4K.
The new HomePod comes with new built-in temperature and humidity sensors that can be used to trigger other smart home automation. This means the HomePod can automatically turn on fans and heaters should the room get too hot or cold. It all depends on your preferences.
Apple is also releasing an update later this year for the speaker to unlock an alarm listening feature. Once updated, the HomePod can listen for smoke alarms and alert you on your iPhone about them.
The new HomePod is releasing at a cheaper price tag than the original model did at its launch. The first-generation HomePod was released at $349 in 2018 before getting a price cut of $50 in 2019 before it was discontinued. The new model is launching at that price tag of $299. The speaker is set to launch on 3 February.
We don’t know if South Africa will get the new HomePod. In fact, the original speaker wasn’t released here at all. The HomePod Mini recently got its own official release in South Africa in late 2022 so there’s hope we might get the larger, newer model here.