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The HomePod mini has a sensor in it that isn’t being used for anything…yet

The sensor could eventually be used for humidity and temperature control.

apple homepod mini on table
Image: Unsplash

Apple’s HomePod mini has been out for a while now, and you would think we knew everything about the smart speaker. Well, it seems there’s just “one more thing” inside, a sensor for humidity and temperature that hasn’t been disclosed by Apple yet.

That finding has been confirmed by the teardown kings over at iFixit and reported on by Bloomberg, with the exact component being a 1.5 x 1.5mm HDC2010 Humidity and Temperature Digital Sensor manufactured by Texas Instruments. Inside the HomePod mini, it’s kept away from the internals, seemingly so it can measure the external temperature of your room.

Image: Bloomberg / iFixit

That sensor isn’t available to Apple’s users yet, with Bloomberg saying that internal discussions at Apple include letting that sensor pass information to other home smart devices, like thermostats or fans. That could let you use your HomePod mini as a secondary temperature sensor for your smart thermostat, or turn on the AC to remove excess humidity. Likely, the connecting piece would be HomeKit, Apple’s smart home ecosystem, which can already interface with dozens of temperature control devices.

It’s not the first time that Apple has included hardware components in a device that weren’t enabled at launch. The 2008 iPod Touch had a Bluetooth radio but it took Apple a year to push an update to the device that enabled it to connect to external devices. The U1 chip inside the iPhone 11 was also inactive at launch, with Apple bringing “directionally aware suggestions” once iOS 13.1 released, about a month after the iPhone 11 was available.

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