Apple Inc. has unveiled the second generation of its HomePod smart speaker that includes new computational audio and support for spatial audio.
The HomePod second generation features not just audio quality upgrades but new control over smart home automation through Siri including getting notified when a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm is detected in the home. It can also check temperature and humidity in a room through voice commands.
The HomePod, which will be available for order this week, is designed with an acoustically transparent mesh fabric and backlit touch surface that illuminates from edge to edge. It is available in white or midnight colors.
“Leveraging our audio expertise and innovations, the new HomePod delivers rich, deep bass, natural mid-range, and clear, detailed highs,” said Greg Joswiak, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple. “With the popularity of HomePod mini, we’ve seen growing interest in even more powerful acoustics achievable in a larger HomePod.”
Features of the second generation HomePod include:
- 20 mm built-in bass-EQ mic
- Beamforming array of five tweeters
- S7 chip for software and system-sensing technology
- Direct and ambient audio
Additionally, with room sensing technology, the smart speaker recognizes sound reflections from nearby surfaces to determine if it is against a wall or freestanding and adapts sound in real-time.
The HomePod allows for more than 100 million songs and can be paired with other stereo equipment, home theater systems, Apple TV 4K and more. Siri can be used to search by artist, song, lyrics, decade, genre, mood and more.
Smart home support
The built-in temperature and humidity sensor can measure indoor environments, additional automations can be created to close blinds and turn on fans automatically when a certain temperature is reached in a room.
Scenes can also be created to put multiple smart home accessories to work at the same time such as opening the blinds at sunrise, or playing ambient sounds at certain times of the day. Other smart home features can be used to control climate, lights and security like multi-camera views.
The HomePod second generation also supports the new Matter standard, which was launched last month to support interoperability among smart home devices.
(Learn more about the Matter standard and how it changes smart home devices on Globalspec.com)
Apple is a member of the Connectivity Standards Alliance, which created the Matter standard, and HomePod connects to and controls Matter-enabled devices and serves as an essential home hub.
Google and Amazon rolled out support for Matter in many of their devices late last year.