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The HomePod Mini Is Here and Hey, It’s Real Small and Round!

Illustration for article titled The HomePod Mini Is Here and Hey, Its Real Small and Round!

Screenshot: Apple

Have been we shocked that Apple introduced a HomePod Mini in the present day? Completely not. The stream of leaks suggesting Apple had deliberate a HomePod refresh has been regular and powerful—hell we even had a last-minute leak this morning. And as suspected, the HomePod Mini made its official debut at in the present day’s iPhone occasion—and it’s solely $100.

That $100 price ticket is a fairly large deal. Google’s Nest Audio speaker, which was introduced only a couple weeks in the past, can also be $100. So no, whereas the HomePod Mini will not be as low-cost as a $50 Nest Mini or an Echo Dot, it’s rather more competitively priced than the OG HomePod.

The HomePod Mini for starters is a cute, little spherical boy. From what we may inform from the occasion, it doesn’t have fairly as many drivers as the unique HomePod, however Apple is promising that it’s nonetheless bought “unbelievable sound for the dimensions.” The Mini can also be possible spherical as a result of compressing the dimensions meant needing to get somewhat inventive with the acoustics—one thing Apple is asking computational audio.

Beneath the hood, it’s additionally powered by the S5 chip—the identical because the Apple Watch SE and the Series 5—as an alternative of the A8 chip. There’s one other backlit contact floor, and sure, they’re protecting the material cowl too. Like Sonos audio system, the HomePod Minis will play properly with others. Two audio system in the identical room will routinely transmit in stereo, as an example.

One of many extra fascinating inclusions with the HomePod Mini is the U1 chip, which provides Extremely Wideband capabilities. This chip isn’t in each Apple product—it was unnoticed of this yr’s iPad Professional and the Watch SE, although Apple did embody it within the Sequence 6. However in the present day, that U1 chip makes a bit extra sense because the HomePod Mini (and the brand new Apple TV) can now act as extremely wideband hubs. Which means the HomePod mini will be capable to extra exactly observe your location, as long as you might have one other system with a U1 chip. It additionally beefs up the HomePod mini’s capabilities for the good residence, because it routinely works with the Residence app. That features devices like good thermostats and setting scenes. This isn’t new, although Apple did emphasize there’ll be a better approach of discovering units. When you carry your cellphone near the HomePod Mini, you’ll additionally get some haptics and visible results.

To this point, the {hardware} updates to the HomePod Mini and the lowered value are fairly compelling. Nonetheless, as properly all know, hi-fi audio is just one a part of the equation with good audio system. There’s no straightforward approach of placing this, however Siri is a goddamn trash bag of a digital assistant—and Siri was even worse on the HomePod itself. This time round although, Apple is promising some upgrades for the world’s worst digital assistant. On the occasion, Apple mentioned the HomePod Mini will work together higher along with your iPhone, and subsequently get higher updates through requests like, “Hey Siri, what’s my private replace?” Apple additionally says that Siri can acknowledge the person voices of your housemates—hopefully, in order that she by no means once more asks somebody “Who dis?” There’ll even be higher integrations with CarPlay. Likewise, the HomePod Mini can work as an intercom. Alexa units can already do that, however the profit right here is that it’ll additionally work with different units together with your AirPods, iPhones, and Apple Watches. In fact, it regarded spectacular on stage however seeing as this was a digital occasion, we’ll have to attend till we’ve got a HomePod Mini in our fingers to check it out for ourselves. That mentioned, lots of the updates felt like Apple catching as much as different digital assistants fairly than pushing the area ahead.

Illustration for article titled The HomePod Mini Is Here and Hey, Its Real Small and Round!

Screenshot: Apple

Good audio system at all times give individuals the heebie jeebies with privateness. Apple says private requests will solely work when your iPhone is residence with you and that every part is encrypted.

It’s clear that regardless of a meh reaction to the unique HomePod, Apple’s not giving up on the entire good residence and good speaker class. Nonetheless, there are some things that also may get in the way in which of that. For starters, there’s no Spotify, despite the fact that you will get some companies like Pandora, Amazon Music, and iHeart Radio. And whereas the slick handoff options look cool, will it Bluetooth? We’ll must see.

Once more, we’ll must attempt it out for ourselves earlier than we are able to hand down a verdict. That mentioned, if Siri doesn’t deter you, then the HomePod Mini will likely be accessible in white and grey. Preorders begin November 6 and can ship the week of November 16.

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Victoria Song