American technology giant Apple on Wednesday refreshed its smart speaker line with the launch of the second generation HomePod. Priced at Rs 32,900, the smart speaker is available to order on Apple Store online, with availability beginning on February 3. This smart speaker is compatible with iPhone SE (2nd generation) and later, iPhone 8 and later with iOS 16.3 or later, iPad Pro, iPad (5th generation) and later, iPad Air (3rd generation) and later, iPad mini (5th generation) and later with iPadOS 16.3. The iOS 16.3 and iPadOS 16.3 are slated to roll out in the week starting January 23.
“Leveraging our audio expertise and innovations, the new HomePod delivers rich, deep bass, natural mid-range, and clear, detailed highs. With the popularity of HomePod mini, we’ve seen growing interest in even more powerful acoustics achievable in a larger HomePod. We’re thrilled to bring the next generation of HomePod to customers around the world,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
Apple HomePod (second generation): Specifications and features
Like the predecessor, the second generation HomePod speaker has acoustically transparent mesh fabric and a backlit touch surface that illuminates from edge to edge. It comes in white and midnight colours, with a colour-matched woven power cable.
The second generation HomePod features a high excursion woofer, and built-in bass-EQ microphone. There are five beamforming tweeters placed around the base, which comes with precise directional control. There is room sensing technology, which recognises sound reflections from nearby surfaces and adapts sound in real time.
The speaker is powered by S7 chip, which brings system-sensing technology, computational audio, and support for spatial audio. The HomePod speaker supports stereo pairing, hands-off, and intercom function. With Siri enabled, HomePod doubles up as a hub for smart home devices. It has Sound Recognition, which allows it to listen to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and send a notification directly to the user’s iPhone. Besides, there are built-in temperature and humidity sensors that can measure and monitor indoor environments.
The second generation HomePod comes with Matter support, which means it can connect to Matter-enabled smart devices from other brands. Besides, it can serve as an essential home hub, giving users access when away from home. For privacy and security, Apple said its smart home communications are always end-to-end encrypted, including camera recordings with HomeKit Secure Video. While using Siri, the audio of the request is also not stored by default.