Redesigning the HomePod entirely, the HomePod mini is the compact version of Apple's smart speaker. It is capable of doing everything from playing crisp audio to controlling your home accessories. With enhanced Siri compatibility, the HomePod mini will make your life easier at home.
Initially released in 2018, Apple has only made relatively minor updates for the HomePod. However, after Apple's event on October 13th, the next generation of the HomePod is here with the HomePod mini.
A smaller version of the HomePod, the HomePod mini redesigns the smart speaker almost entirely. Instead of a cylinder, it's now has a spherical body with a flat bottom for balance and a flat top with touch controls.
Many of the things that made the HomePod great are being retained on the HomePod mini. And of course, there are plenty of upgrades coming to its hardware and software.
For example, the S5 chip is the all-new processor for the HomePod mini and it brings a host of new features like computational audio, advanced sound features, and better Siri support.
When it comes to audio, in addition to computational audio, you won't have to stress about quality. With a customized acoustic waveguide, you get an effect similar to Spatial Audio. Then, with a rich bass, the HomePod mini delivers incredible audio.
As a smart speaker, you want the HomePod mini to be effective for your home. With compatibility on the Home app and the brand-new Intercom app, you'll be able to communicate with your family and the home accessories around the house.
With all these upgrades, the HomePod mini will be the next step for Apple's smart speaker line. Compact yet still powerful, it's the upgrade to the HomePod product line that has been long-awaited.
Design and Size
The Homepod mini has a height of 84.3 mm and a diameter of 97.9 mm. Spherical in form, the top and bottom are flat. At the top of the HomePod are its Touch Controls. These Touch Controls will be discussed later on.
The HomePod mini, aside from having a new shape, also has new materials to go with it. Now designed with a mesh outer, the HomePod mini is designed for even better audio quality. These conductive strands make for a better, clearer acoustic sound, amplified by Apple's custom audio features.
Although rumors hinted at the Touch Controls being on the HomePod mini's mesh layering, Apple's Touch Controls for the HomePod mini are still at the top of the device on a backlit surface. Here is a list of the controls:
- Tap Once: Play/Pause music
- Double-Tap: Skip
- Triple-Tap: Skip Back
- Touch and Hold: Siri
- Tap or Hold + or -: Volume Up/Down
- You'll be able to get the HomePod mini for just $99, and you can choose between White or Space Gray color options. Pre-orders start on November 6th, and the devices will ship and be in stores on November 16th.
The HomePod mini's sound system is custom-made by Apple to provide users with the best quality possible. At the core of the HomePod mini is a full-range dynamic driver that minimizes distortion. The dual radiators around the driver allow for rich and powerful bass sounds.
Surround-sound is the way to go these days, and Apple developed this on the AirPods with Spatial Audio. On the HomePod mini, the new acoustic waveguide creates a multi-direction sound experience, so no angle misses out on the HomePod mini's audio.
To provide a truly great audio experience, Apple uses computational audio, which adjusts your audio for optimal performance. But more on this later, when we discuss the S5 chip.
Users can activate Siri on the HomePod either through its Touch Surface or "Hey, Siri." However, the commands that Siri can perform on the HomePod are quite simplistic; the HomePod mini fixes this by giving Siri an upgrade.
Firstly, Siri is faster and more accurate than ever before. Given its new chip, to be examined later, the HomePod mini can do more. Siri now recognizes more commands and more complex requests so you can do less from a distance. Siri also has more facts, so it can answer your random questions.
If the HomePod mini is being used by a whole family, the device comes with user recognition. This means the HomePod mini can recognize different voices and answer different questions based on the user. Mom and Dad might have different music preferences, or the kids might have different schedules. The HomePod mini can distinguish speech patterns and for personal service.
"Hey Siri, what's my update?" is the newest, important question you can ask Siri. By asking this simple question in the morning, you can get a full, tailor-made rundown of your schedule for the day. With basic information like weather, scheduling, and more, you'll be able to plan ahead.
Asking Siri can also activate CarPlay automatically. If you ask Siri for the directions to a place, you can tell Siri to implement it into CarPlay and the directions will already be loaded, ready to take you there.
The HomePod mini uses the S5 chip, which is the reason all of its upgrades are possible. Faster and more powerful than the A8 chip for the HomePod, the S5 is designed to handle the audio quality and complex processes that the HomePod mini is equipped with.
The S5 chip upgrades the HomePod mini's audio system to computational audio. This means that the HomePod mini adjusts the audio you're playing with complex tuning models, optimal loudness, adjusted dynamic range, and more at 180 times per second.
As a smart speaker, the HomePod mini is also designed to have control over your home accessories. The HomePod mini does this through the Home app. With it, you can use simple voice commands to activate the various accessories around your house without opening the Home app itself.
Like "What's my update?", you can also use the HomePod mini for a basic but complete set up of your day with a single phrase. Saying "Hey Siri, good morning" once you wake up can activate Siri to light up your room, open the blinds, and more to set the morning scene.
In addition to the Home app, Apple also introduced the Intercom app. This app is especially useful if you have several HomePods around the house, but it's still useful because the HomePod mini's features are connected to almost every Apple device including iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and CarPlay.
With the Intercom app, send voice messages around the house. By speaking into one HomePod mini, users can make announcements around the house with their own voice. Individual users can also respond to Intercom messages through their individual devices.
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