Apple first announced the original HomePod back in 2017, and it finally went on sale in 2018. However, when the device first launched, the $349 price tag, combined with the lack of Spotify integration, led to Apple struggling to sell the device.
The company is finally making an affordable smart speaker — today, it’s introducing a new, smaller HomePod. The new HomePod Mini costs only $99, making it way more affordable than the original HomePod.
At the $99 price tag, you obviously won’t be getting the same audio quality as the original HomePod, which received raving reviews for its audio quality. But the new HomePod Mini features something called “Computational Audio” which will automatically adjust loudness, dynamic range, etc. intelligently. Apple is promising high-quality sound here.
The $99 HomePod could finally allow Apple to break into the smart speaker market, which has so far been dominated by the likes of Amazon, Google, and Sonos. Apple showcased support for Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and some other services — except Spotify. Yikes.
The new HomePod Mini features an S5 processor that we have also seen on the Apple Watch Series 5. The new HomePod is actually almost half the size of the original HomePod, making it really small. The design of the device has changed quite a lot, it looks like a bowl now, and has a nice little Siri light on top. The device features a nice fabric mesh exterior and is available in black and white.
Apple’s new $99 HomePod also features Apple’s ultra-wideband U1 chip which first debuted on the iPhone 11. The new chip will allow the HomePod Mini to track your location inside your house with other U1 devices, enabling cool new experiences. For example, you will be able to quickly handoff music playback from your iPhone by bringing it close to the HomePod Mini.
HomePod Mini works with HomeKit-enabled products, so you will be able to control all your smart home devices with Siri on the HomePod Mini. Apple is also introducing a new Intercom feature, which allows you to send audio messages throughout the home, as well as other Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad.
Apple is putting a lot of emphasis on privacy and security — the company says your Siri requests won’t be associated with your Apple ID, and the company will only store your audio recordings only if you opt-in. The device will be available for order November 6 and start shipping on November 16.