It has been rumored for so long, and now it’s finally here: a new, less expensive HomePod. It’s a smaller variant of the original, but it still packs an (audio) punch.
Apple has officially unveiled the newest smart speaker in the HomePod lineup, introducing the HomePod mini. As the name suggests, this is a smaller variant of the original HomePod, keeping things more compact this time around. But you’ll get a familiar design, Siri support, and impressive audio quality anyway.
Introducing the HomePod mini
To bring the HomePod experience to more people, the HomePod mini shares a similar design as its larger sibling. You’ll get buttons on the top of the device to handle audio volume, as well as a visual aspect of Siri when the digital assistant is activated.
It’s compact, elegant, and wrapped in a seamless mesh fabric. It boosts the acoustic performance, and the back-lit touch surface on the top is exactly like the larger HomePod. Apple kept the audio quality that one might expect from a HomePod, despite the smaller size.
Distortion is kept to a minimum, and the HomePod mini has “amazing bass” experience. It’s combined with the Apple S5 chip to help improve the sound, too. With “computational audio”, the tuning models will adjust dynamic range, control movement of the passive radiators and drivers in real time. It happens over 180 times a second. This gets the audio experience the best of its kind in a product of this size.
HomePod mini delivers an incredibly rich and detailed acoustic experience, using computational audio to deliver peak performance. To achieve big sound out of such a compact design, the Apple S5 chip in HomePod mini works with advanced software to analyze the unique characteristics of the music and apply complex tuning models to optimize loudness, adjust the dynamic range, and control the movement of the driver and passive radiators in real time. The Apple-engineered full-range driver, powered by a neodymium magnet and a pair of force-cancelling passive radiators, enables deep bass and crisp high frequencies.Applying the same acoustic principles used to deliver amazing sound in HomePod, HomePod mini features an Apple-designed acoustic waveguide to direct the flow of sound down and out toward the bottom of the speaker for an immersive 360-degree audio experience. This allows customers to place HomePod mini almost anywhere in a room and hear consistent sound. A three-microphone array listens for “Hey Siri,” and a fourth inward-facing microphone helps isolate sound coming from the speaker to improve voice detection when music is playing.
And of course, the HomePod mini can play sounds in sync across the house. And combine two HomePod minis in the same room and they’ll be a great way to fill the room with sound.
The HomePod mini also uses the U1 chip. It means when you bring the iPhone close to a HomePod mini it will give haptic feedback and new visuals while the smart speaker is playing content.
You can use Siri to use voice controls to play, pause, and control other media. You can also control the volume in this way, too.
Siri is faster, too. 20x more facts are in its capabilities now, can set multiple timers, and set weather reports. Using Siri, the HomePod mini will find your iPhone, make a call, send a message, and ask Siri for a “personal update”. This new feature will wrap up your events, reminders, the weather, and more upon the request.
Siri can still recognize voices in your household, too. This means for a personal experience on the HomePod mini just like the standard HomePod.
With deep integration with the iPhone, CarPlay gets integration too. Ask HomePod mini when Target closes, for instance, and CarPlay will show a suggestion for Target when you get into the car.
The smart home with Intercom
HomePod mini automatically integrates with the Home app, so you’ll get the ability to control a variety of smart home accessories, including lighting, security, and more.
A new Intercom feature offers a quick and easy way for family members to connect with each other at home. One person can send an Intercom message from one HomePod to another — whether in a different room, a specific zone, or multiple rooms throughout the home — and their voice will automatically play on the designated HomePod speaker. Intercom works with iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, and CarPlay, so everyone in the household can get Intercom notifications and send Intercom messages from the backyard or on their way home.
With Intercom, you’ll be able to send a message from one HomePod or HomePod mini to the other HomePod units in your home. This will send a message to all the smart speakers in your home, or just one. The Intercom feature also works with the Apple Watch, iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad. This a new whole-home intercom system. The message automatically plays on HomePod smart speakers, and a notification will arrive on iPhones and other mobile devices.
Pricing, availability, and colors
The HomePod mini can be ordered November 6, starts shipping November 16. It’s priced at $99. And it will be available in White and Space Gray.
Here’s the fine print:
- Customers in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Spain, the UK, and the US are able to order HomePod mini beginning at 5 a.m. PST on Friday, November 6, with availability beginning the week of November 16. HomePod mini will be available in China, Mexico, and Taiwanlater this year.