Apple announced an updated lineup of products recently with the introduction of new MacBook Pros and Mac minis with the new M2 Pro and M2 Max Apple Silicon chips. Yesterday, the company unveiled another refreshed gadget in the form of second-generation HomePod, which hasn’t seen an update since it first came out in 2017.
Available in white and midnight, the new HomePod looks pretty much identical to its predecessor, including its clean mesh external cover and touch control panel on top. It did get slightly shorter and noticeably lighter from 2.5KG to 2.3KG, with updated internals and a smarter Siri smart assistant built in. Interestingly, the new version has two tweeters less than the original device.
Inside the smart speaker is the S7 chip which came from the Apple Watch Series 7 but still provides a huge leap forward in processing power from the original HomePod’s A8 SoC that came from the iPhone 6. It’s also equipped with Apple’s ultra-wideband U1 chip for its Handoff feature, which lets you play the audio from your iPhone and iPad just by tapping them on the speaker.
The new 2023 HomePod also adds support for Matter and it can act as a hub for the HomeKit smart home system. Users can create Siri smart home automation directly through the speaker using their voice and the HomePod will actively listen for smoke alarms in your house in case it ever needs to notify you.
The speaker system of the second-generation HomePod now comes with built-in sensors to tell you in real-time the temperature and humidity in the room while it can also automatically scan the room and adjust its sounds accordingly. Moreover, you can use them as intercoms if you have more than one HomePod in your home although the second-generation model is not compatible with the original. While the better smart home features are a plus, it is baffling why Apple decided to downgrade the HomePod’s wireless support from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 4 despite the new chip though.
The best news is that Apple cut the price of the HomePod from US$349 (~RM1,500) to US$299 (~RM1,300). The downside is that just like with its predecessor, the HomePod doesn’t seem to be coming to Malaysia anytime soon as it will only be sold in selected countries.