Apple didn’t choose to start their October “Hi, Speed” event with the new $99 HomePod Mini by chance. The 3.3-inch tall home assistant is, as of this moment, one of the best ways to connect all your smart home devices and Apple gadgets in one hub.
The HomePod Mini looks like your grandma’s ball of yarn… if your grandma’s ball of yarn was a tech marvel, with a backlit touch-sensitive top, acoustic mesh for a better sound experience, powered by a full range dynamic driver, and two high excursion passive radiators for some extra bass.
Using an Apple S5 chip that brings to the table computational audio, the HomePod Mini speaker will constantly adjust loudness and dynamic range in real-time based on what is playing.
Apple also announced that, in a short while, the home assistant will work with the U1 UWB chip in iPhones. This means it will be able to pick up when your handset is near and shutdown audio from the HomePod Mini, giving the user a hands-off experience.
HomePod Mini: music services, Intercom
HomePod Mini now recognizes the voices of each member of your family and automatically integrates with the Home app. By integrating all the Apple products with the HomePod Mini, the user can access phone apps, read or send messages, listen to music, and a slew of other activities.
To note, the new HomePod Mini works with Apple Music, iHeartRadio, radio.com, and TuneIn for the moment, but soon, we will see Pandora and Amazon Music jump on the bandwagon. But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the new HomePod is the fact that it can give you personal updates.
In the keynote, Apple stressed the fact that privacy is one of the main concerns of the company. In this regard, Apple will only store audio if the user desires to. Users will only receive personal updates at home under heavy encryption, adding to the security layer.
Apple also introduced a new way to communicate called Intercom. Using Intercom, you can now “talk” to other HomePods in the household, and it works with every other Apple device and service. For those of you who are wondering, this also connects with iPhones and CarPlay devices.
The Apple HomePod Mini seems to be a viable home assistant. It can deliver 360-degree sound coverage, and it has a daisy chain option so the user can pair multiple HomePods together. If you want one of your own, they will be up for purchase on November 6 for $99, with shipments starting on November 16.