HomePod mini announced with S5 chip, smarter Siri and computational audio

The Apple HomePod mini has been announced at the company’s iPhone 12 event, following months of speculation. A smaller version of the original Apple HomePod, the smart speaker features a mesh fabric exterior for improved acoustic performance and illuminates when users interact with its built-in voice assistant, Siri.

It’s set to cost $99, which is far cheaper than the original Apple HomePod, and it will come in white and space grey color variations. It will be available to buy from November 6, with shipping starting from November 16.

HomePod mini

Apple’s new HomePod mini announced at its iPhone 12 event

Like its predecessor, the HomePod mini features a mesh exterior in both space grey and white variants, along with a small display on top to show the Siri waveform and volume controls. However, instead of the elongated form of the original version, the new model has a spherical shape. The smart speaker features one main driver, two passive radiators, and an acoustic waveguide on the bottom.

The new HomePod mini features an Apple S5 chip, which allows for “computational audio” processing to adjust how your music sounds 180 times per second. Additionally, multiple HomePod mini speakers can also play music in sync and create stereo pairing when placed in the same room. Apple is also using the U1 chips that it debuted in last year’s iPhones for a new ‘handoff’ feature is coming later this year, which allows the audio to switch devices seamlessly.

HomePod mini

Apple also promised support for third-party music services, a list that will include Pandora, Amazon Music, and iHeartRadio.

The Cupertino tech giant also introduced a new “Intercom” feature that allows customers with multiple HomePod devices in different rooms to communicate throughout the house. Intercom messages will also appear on connected iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and AirPods.

HomePod mini

The HomePod Mini is not just a smart speaker, it also serves as a central hub for any HomeKit device. This enables users to control their smart devices when they are not at home, as well as enabling automation features for Apple’s Home app.

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.

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