The HomePod mini is the $99 smart speaker you probably didn’t know you needed
(Unless you use Spotify)
Apple just showed off the HomePod mini, the latest version of its in-home smart speakers. The $99 globe comes with Siri, impressive sound, and smart home control, pretty much everything you’d want from a smart speaker.
The 3.3-inch tall HomePod mini has a neat trick that might elevate it over other smart speakers, computational audio powered by the S5 chip. That will adjust loudness, dynamic range, and tweak the speakers onboard to get the best out of your music, wherever in the house you place it.
If you want more sound, you can turn two HomePod minis into a stereo pair, to get room-filling audio; or have music spread throughout your home with multiroom capabilities. It’s got four microphones onboard, three to listen out for “Hey Siri” activation, and the fourth microphone inside works to improve voice detection while music is playing.
Of course, the real power of any Apple product is how well it integrates with other Apple products. HomePod mini is no exception, with seamless hand-offs from iPhone or iPad for voice calls, music, or upgrade the sound coming from your
Does that mean you can use HomePod mini as your surround speakers while watching TV? If so, that’d be amazing and a reason to buy at least two for those important rear channels. Oh, and Intercom will let you send messages to other HomePods in your home, or to iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch, AirPods, or CarPlay, so nobody is left out of important messages.
At launch, it’ll work with Apple Music, podcasts, iHeartRadio, radio.com, and TuneIn. Amazon Music and Pandora were mentioned as being added in “the coming months.” Touch controls on the top let you control music or talk to Siri, and the voice assistant will be able to identify who is talking to her, tuning her responses according to their preferences.
You’ll have to wait if you want one though, as pre-orders won’t go live until Friday, November 6; and only for customers in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Spain, the UK, and the US. Apple will begin shipping the week of November 16.
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