Apple announces second generation HomePod with temperature and humidity sensors
Two years after its demise, the original HomePod is now 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 has the same 4-inch tall woofer as before. New five horn-loaded tweeters replace the seven on the original model. The six microphones of the original model have been replaced by four new far-field microphones. There is also an internal low-frequency calibration microphone for automatic bass correction.
Like the original model, the new HomePod can do automatic room correction by listening to feedback from the microphones and calibrating itself. It has the Apple S7 SoC that helps with computational audio and real-time tuning.
The new HomePod also supports stereo pairing as with other HomePod models; just put two of these in a room and you’ll be asked if you want to pair them. In addition to acting 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, as the first and second generation cannot be paired together.
The new HomePod also includes temperature and humidity sensors. These can report real-time information for 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 remember that the same sensors were also spotted on the HomePod mini a while back, but were never activated. It looks like Apple will now enable them on the HomePod mini in a future update.
The audio recognition feature can also discreetly listen to the beeps of a smoke or carbon monoxide detector and send you alerts on 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 slightly lighter. It comes in two colours, White and a new lighter Midnight Gray variant, both of which come with colour-matched power cables which are now detachable.
The second-generation HomePod is priced at $299, the same as the original model’s price when it was discontinued. It can be ordered today and will be available on February 3rd.