It’s been five years since the original HomePod, which is a really long time for an Apple product to go without a successor. For a while, it even looked like Apple is giving up on its smart home aspirations with the HomePod’s discontinuation in 2021. Turns out, that demise is premature because the outfit just announced the second generation of the Apple HomePod.
That’s right, the HomePod is back, sparing Apple fanboys from begrudgingly using an Amazon Echo or, worse, a Google Home for their intelligent speaker needs. Whether you’ve managed to stick with your aging HomePod or tried to make things work with another brand, you can once again enjoy voice-controlled music at home while staying within the closed Apple ecosystem that makes you feel safe and warm.
The Apple HomePod 2nd Gen looks exactly like the original, so you get the same wide-diameter cylindrical shape that’s wrapped completely in mesh fabric. It gets multi-color LED lights at the top, allowing it to put on a light show while your music plays, complete with capacitive playback and volume controls right on the same surface. Inside, of course, it gets a lot of improvements. It’s now powered by S7 processor, the same on the Apple Watch Series 7, so it should deliver much-improved computational audio that optimizes its acoustics in real-time compared to its A8-powered predecessor.
That new processor controls what comes out of the four-inch high-excursion woofer and five beamforming tweeter arrays, which, Apple claims, can deliver high-fidelity sound all throughout the room. It boasts the ability to identify its location via room-sensing technology, which allows it to tune the sound to ensure everything plays clearer, no matter how it’s positioned. The speaker also supports Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos, so it should make for a potentially good living room speaker.
The Apple HomePod 2nd Gen can, of course, take orders via voice commands directed towards Siri, so you can control music playback and search any information using the virtual assistant. However, the new speaker is also designed to work well with smart home devices, complete with support for Matter, the new smart home standard that’s trending to make all our IoT devices able to work together, along with the outfit’s own HomeKit. It also houses a few new sensors, including a temperature sensor and humidity sensor, allowing you to check various information about your home without connecting to other devices. You can also use them in your HomeKit automations, such as triggering the smart blinds to close when the temperature gets a little too hot.
Of course, the new speaker will support stereo pairing, so you can enjoy bigger and fuller stereo sound. However, the new HomePod can only pair with another 2nd-gen HomePod, with no support for the original or the more popular (and much cheaper) HomePod Mini. So yeah… you have to get two of the big boys if you want them to work together.
Want one? The Apple HomePod 2nd Gen comes out in February, priced at $299.