Apple’s recent “Hi, Speed” event saw the announcement of the new HomePod mini. Here’s everything you need to know.
Tim Apple took to the virtual stage to announce an update to two product lines; iPhone 12 and HomePod mini. This was Apple’s third pre-recorded event, complete with plenty of impressive transitions as before.
We thought a new HomePod may be announced at the event, but beyond being a smaller HomePod, we weren’t sure what to expect. HomePod mini is a smaller version of Apple’s original HomePod smart speaker launched in 2018, with newer internals and neat software tricks. At $99, this is a very competitive price and places it perfectly inline with Google’s new Nest Audio and Amazon’s new Echo smart speakers.
Externally, the new HomePod mini features an all new design, while sharing characteristics of the original HomePod. Available in White and Space Gray, HomePod mini stands at 3.3-inches tall, wrapped in a mash fabric that makes it look and sound great. The smart speaker is topped with a backlit touch surface for play/pause and volume controls, illuminating when Siri is activated.
Internally, HomePod mini features a full range dynamic driver that delivers high output with minimal distortion, a pair of high excursion force cancelling passive radiators for great bass and an acoustic wave guide for consistant 360-degree sound. HomePod mini is powered by the S5 chip which uses computational audio to analyse the audio, applying tuning models to optimise loudness and dynamic range. Some big words there… let’s just hope it sounds great!
HomePod mini has a few clever software tricks that should make the user experience seemless. As per usual, those tied closely with the Apple eco-system should benefit the most. Multiple HomePod and HomePod minis can play music in sync around your house. Two HomePod minis in one room will play music in stereo. The U1 ultra-wideband chip knows when your iPhone is nearby, allowing you to simply bring your iPhone next to your HomePod mini to start casting audio, with visual feedback on both your iPhone and the smart speaker. With AirPlay, you can cast any content to it from an Apple device or ask Siri to play content with support for Apple Music, Podcasts, iHeartRadio, RADIO.COM and TuneIn, with support for more music services in the next couple of months such as Pandora and Amazon Music. We believe this also means Spotify will be able to build compatibility for the HomePod mini.
The speaker recognises different voices for multi-user support, giving you a personalised experience for your apps such as Messages, Calendar, Phone, Maps, Apple Music, Weather, Reminders, Apple Podcasts and Find My.
HomePod mini is available to pre-order November 6th and starts shipping the week of November 16th.
What we’re expecting going forward
We were hoping for a release date for the iPad Air and macOS Big Sur at this event, but no luck just yet.
We think there may be another Apple event held next month to debut the first batch of Apple Silicon Macs, as well as AirPods Studio and AirTags.