Apple has introduced a smart speaker for home HomePod 2. The design of the updated version remained the same, but the sound and the processor have been improved, and Siri has become "smarter".
The new speaker, according to the developer, sounds much better than the original model, and it has a more advanced computing sound. But in fact it has fewer speakers: the new HomePod 2 consists of a 4-inch woofer and 5 tweeters on the perimeter, while the original model along with the woofer had 7 tweeters.
SoC S7, which is also used in the Apple Watch Series 7, is responsible for processing the sound in the new column.
The speaker has a low-frequency microphone, which can analyze and correct the sound. Moreover, the speaker can detect the distance to the wall and adapt the sound accordingly so that it is not distorted.
The speaker can be controlled using the touch panel on its cover. It's also compatible with different iPhone models running iOS 16.3 or newer versions: from the paired phone to the speaker you can stream not only music, but almost anything you can think of, including phone calls.
Two speakers can be combined into a stereo pair. You can also connect the speaker to the Apple TV as an audio system. Apple Music and the voice assistant Siri is supported as well, and the latter, according to the developer, has become smarter: it can recognize up to six different voices and give personalized answers.
The speaker only supports Wi-Fi 4 and Bluetooth 5.0.
One of the interesting features of the new speaker from Apple is the ability to recognize alarms with microphones: if one of the systems, which react to smoke or carbon monoxide, turns on in the house, the speaker will send a notification about it to the user's iPhone.
The feature will start working later this spring, after a software update.
HomePod 2 also works under the Matter standard and can become a hub for a smart home system: the speaker has a built-in temperature and humidity sensor, which can be used to measure indoor air characteristics and use the data for smart home automation scenarios.
As for the appearance of the speakers, it has not changed: a little reduced size (168 x 142 mm compared to 172 x 142 in the first model) and weight (from 2.5 to 2.3 kg). The speakers will be available in two colors – black and white, with a power cable of matching color.
Apple also noted that creating new speaker they used recycled materials, including - 100% recycled gold.
The HomePod 2 is already available for pre-order for $299, which is $50 less than the original HomePod cost when it was released in 2017. Sales of the speaker will kick off on Feb. 3. According to Apple, the speaker will be sold in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and 11 other markets.
Recently Apple has also presented an updated MacBook Pro and Mac mini. Their design has remained the same, but the processors have been updated to M2 Pro and M2 Max.