Apple has unveiled its second-generation HomePod, a smart speaker that it claims will deliver next-gen acoustics.
The second-gen HomePod features the same 4-inch high-excursion woofer as before.
New five horn-loaded tweeters replace the seven on the original model, while six mics on the original model have been replaced with four new far-field mics.
There is also an internal low-frequency calibration microphone for automatic bass correction.
The new HomePod features a seamless, acoustically transparent mesh fabric and a backlit touch surface that glows from edge to edge.
Like the original model, the new HomePod’s technology can perform automatic room correction by listening to microphone feedback and calibrating itself.
It features the Apple S7 SoC that helps with computer audio and real-time tuning.
Apple says the HomePod uses room-sensing technology to detect sound reflections off nearby surfaces to determine if it’s against a wall or free-standing, then adjusts the sound in real time.
“The precise directional control of the beamforming array of five tweeters separates and beams direct and ambient audio, immersing listeners in crystal-clear vocals and rich instrumentation.”
According to Apple, when using multi-room audio with AirPlay, users can say “Hey Siri,” or touch and hold the top of HomePod to play the same song on multiple HomePod speakers, play different songs on different HomePod speakers, or even use them as an intercom use broadcast messages to other rooms.
In addition to functioning as a stereo speaker, the HomePod can also play Dolby Atmos audio from an Apple TV 4K. As before, you’ll need the same HomePod model to create a stereo pair, as the first and second generations can’t be paired together.
Apple says HomePod can use Sound Recognition to listen for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and send a notification directly to the user’s iPhone when a sound is detected.
“The new built-in temperature and humidity sensor can measure the indoor environment, allowing users to create automations that close the blinds or turn on the fan automatically when a certain temperature is reached in a room.”
According to Apple, users can also intuitively navigate, view and organize accessories with the redesigned Home app, which offers new categories for climate, lighting and security, enables easy setup and control of the smart home and includes a new multi-camera view.
Prices and Availability
The new HomePod design is largely unchanged, but the new model is a little shorter than before and a little lighter.
It’s available in two colors – white and a new midnight light gray variant, both of which come with colour-coordinated power cords that are now detachable.
The second-generation HomePod retails for $299 (R5,179), which is the price of the original model when it was discontinued.
It can be ordered today and will be available on February 3rd.
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