Apple unveils Siri-powered HomePod mini smart speaker
Apple at its ‘Hi, Speed’ event introduced a new smart speaker. A follow up to the original HomePod, the new IoT device is much smaller in size and looks slightly different, as seen in last minutes leaks. And of course, the HomePod mini runs on Apple’s Siri voice assistant.
It comes with familiar fabric design. It comes with volume buttons on the top and is said to serve as the "brain of your smart home." It also supports 360-degree sound. It is powered by S5 chip. The device comes with a “computational audio” just like the original HomePod which allows adjusting dynamic range and loudness, among other things.
Apple HomePod mini comes with an intercom feature that allows users to send messages between HomePods. The smart speaker also comes with support for third-party music services which include Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, and Pandora. It does not support Spotify, as of now.
“With the intelligence of Siri, HomePod mini delivers a personalised and deeply integrated experience for iPhone customers. Siri can identify who is speaking and tailor music and podcasts to their preferences, and respond to personal requests, like accessing messages, reminders, notes, and calendar appointments, or making and answering phone calls.1 Siri also offers users a personal update for a quick snapshot of their day. With a single request, users can ask Siri “What’s my update?” to hear the latest news, weather, traffic, reminders, and calendar appointments,” said Apple in a release.
HomePod mini is compatible with iPhone SE, iPhone 6s or later, or iPod touch (7th generation) running iOS 14; or iPad Pro, iPad (5th generation or later), iPad Air 2 or later, or iPad mini 4 or later running iPadOS 14.
HomePod mini will be available in India in white and space grey for ₹9,900 from apple.com and Apple Authorised Resellers.
Customers in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Spain, the UK, and the US will be able to order HomePod mini beginning November 6, with availability beginning the week of November 16. HomePod mini will be available in China, Mexico, and Taiwan later this year.
The original HomePod was announced in June 2017 but went on sale early 2018. The smart speaker, which competes with the likes of Google Home and Amazon’s army of Echo devices, has received mostly mixed reviews. The speaker launched in India earlier this year for ₹19,900.
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In terms of specifications and features, Apple’s HomePod came with seven beamforming speakers, each with its own amplifier. Powered by Apple’s A8 chip, it comes with a six-microphone array for far-field Siri. The top panel came with a touch surface which allowed users to access certain features. For instance, users could touch and hold to launch Siri, double-tap to skip a track, and triple-tap to skip back. To find out more about Apple’s original HomePod, read our detailed review.