HomePod Mini: 3 cool new features on Apple’s smart speaker and how to use them

Apple’s new HomePod Mini is about half the dimensions of the unique HomePod, however brings new Siri options.


This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

When Apple unveiled the brand new HomePod Mini final week (together with the iPhone 12 lineup) it launched a litany of next-level options geared toward competing with Google HomeNest Audio and Amazon’s household of Echo speakers. Not solely does the compact HomePod Mini’s $99 price tag make the Siri-powered smart speaker extra reasonably priced than the HomePod ($299), it additionally contains an array of recent options that even the full-size HomePod ($262 at Back Market) and rival audio system lack, like mechanically pairing two HomePod Minis in the identical room.

We have not gotten our palms on a HomePod Mini simply but, and it will not be out there for preorder until Nov. 6 (gadgets ship and go on sale Nov. 16), however here is a take a look at the largest new options Apple introduced, in addition to how you will use them.


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1. Robotically pair two HomePods for stereo sound

One of many downsides to utilizing a sensible speaker is you lose the three-dimensional sound you’d get from a stereo, which separates music into two channels (surround-sound makes use of much more) and performs sounds at totally different ranges on reverse audio system. Different sensible audio system allow you to pair them up of their respective apps, however Apple says whenever you put two HomePod Minis in the identical room, the audio system will acknowledge one another and mechanically separate into left and proper channels to create a stereo pair.

How you will use it: For those who choose up two of Apple’s latest sensible speaker (or are fortunate sufficient to get them as vacation presents), you may place them on a bookshelf, finish tables or desk and the audio system will sense one another’s presence and ask if you would like to attach them in stereo.

Why it is cool: Good speaker settings are notoriously complicated and troublesome to navigate, particularly when organising stereo pairing. It takes no fewer than seven steps to do it on Google Home, for instance. This manner could possibly be rather more streamlined.


Two HomePod Minis can detect after they’re in the identical room and mechanically hyperlink up into left and proper channels for stereo sound.


2. Intercom broadcasts your bulletins on HomePod Mini and extra

HomePod Mini’s new intercom function means no extra shouting to announce dinner. As a substitute, get everybody’s consideration by broadcasting a message that performs on HomePods and seems as a push notification on iOS gadgets scattered all through the home.

The way it works: Document a message on a HomePod, iPhone ($699 at Amazon), iPad ($260 at Back Market) or Mac, and Siri will play it on all of your HomePods in addition to family members’ AirPods ($129 at Amazon) and can ship a push notification to family iOS gadgets and Macs.

How you will use it: Say, “Hey Siri, inform everybody… ,” then embody the message you wish to broadcast throughout the home.

Why it is cool: Google Home ($99 at Walmart) has the same function called Broadcast and Alexa devices have Announce, however Apple’s Intercom function goes past smart home gadgets and pings the gadgets folks take note of probably the most as properly: their phones and tablets.

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3. Presence-sensing connects your HomePod Mini and cellphone auto-magically

Later this 12 months, Apple says, whenever you carry a appropriate iPhone up subsequent to a HomePod Mini, you’ll “hand off” music, with visible, sound and haptic (vibration) cues that create a stronger sense of connection between the gadgets.

The way it works: The HomePod Mini has the identical ultra-wideband chip Apple included within the iPhone 11 and 12 sequence, which theoretically permits the gadgets to sense the space between one another extra precisely than different applied sciences like Bluetooth.


Because of Apple’s new (as of 2019) U1 ultra-wideband chip, HomePod Mini can detect a close-by iPhone and work together with it utilizing animations, sounds and vibrations.


How you will use it: For example you are listening to a playlist on AirPods related to your iPhone however you wish to play the music out loud on a HomePod Mini. You may stroll over to the HomePod Mini, unlock your cellphone and comply with prompts to “sling” the music to the sensible speaker, full with animations, sounds and vibrations to substantiate the transaction.

Why it is cool: Extremely-wideband expertise is pretty new, and system makers are simply starting to scratch the floor of potentialities.

For extra Apple suggestions and tips, try these 13 features new to iOS 14these nine hidden iPhone features we just discovered and these troubleshooting steps for fixing a buggy iPhone.

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Dale Smith