In two new interviews, some Apple executives discussed the new second-generation HomePod, why it was resurrected, its Wi-Fi 4 functionality, and more.
New interviews discuss second-gen HomePod with two key Apple employees
In two separate interviews with Men’s Journal and TechCrunch, Apple’s VP of hardware engineering Matthew Costello, and product marketing employee Alice Chan discussed a wide range of topics related to the second-generation HomePod.
Apple discontinued its original HomePod in March 2021 after launching the HomePod mini, a compact smart speaker that offers advanced technology for a fraction of the price of its predecessor at $99. The original HomePod received high marks from reviewers for its incredible sound quality but criticism for lacking smart features when compared to competitors like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Ultimately, the original HomePod saw lackluster demand. Interestingly enough, Chan told Men’s Journal that Apple has since “heard more interest than ever for the acoustics of a richer larger speaker,” which led the company to re-introduce the larger HomePod.
Costello also touched on why the new HomePod continues to feature the older Wi-Fi 4 standard, even though the latest Apple devices have Wi-Fi 6.
“HomePod features Wi-Fi 4 connectivity that allows us to target exactly what works best in the entire system,” Costello tells TechCrunch, “making sure Siri requests are responsive, and ensuring a consistent experience for all you are listening to, controlling your smart home accessories and more — all while being energy efficient.”
The executive also touched on the reason why users cannot pair a new HomePod with an original HomePod to create a stereo pair.
“When creating a stereo pair, it’s important that the audio characteristics match for an optimal, balanced experience,” says Costello of the lack of compatibility. “The new HomePod delivers immersive, room-filling sound users love — with even more detail, clarity and layers than the original HomePod — so we wanted the acoustical imaging to be as pure and consistent as possible from generation to generation. The principle of having audio characteristics match in a stereo pair applies to HomePod mini, the original HomePod and the new HomePod.”
Powered by the S7 chip, the second-generation HomePod retails for $299. Early reviews suggest the sound quality of the device is top-notch and improvements in smart home features make it a solid speaker.