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Apple’s October press event may be focused on the iPhone 12, but that’s not the only product Apple had up its sleeve. The Cupertino company also unveiled the HomePod mini, a smaller and sleeker version of its existing HomePod smart speaker.
Apple listened to its critics when it designed the HomePod mini. Though the original HomePod was praised for its audio quality, critics did not like its awkward cylindrical shape and hefty price tag.
At a time when Amazon was going smaller and cheaper with its Echo devices, Apple was going plump and pricey.
The new HomePod mini seems to have reversed this “bigger is better” course a bit, with the HomePod speaker shrinking down from a cylinder-like shape to a small sphere.
At the top of the orb are the controls for volume and playback. It also will light up when you activate Siri.
Because it is a smart speaker, the HomePod mini can be controlled by Siri. You can ask it questions, control music and so much more. The HomePod mini integrates with iOS to let you search your calendar, check the weather and even find your missing iPhone. It even can recognize different voices allowing for a customized experience for each person.
It’s deeply integrated into iOS working with the Apple Home app and even CarPlay. You can ask HomePod when a store will close and this information is sent to CarPlay when you enter your car. The HomePod mini will control your household devices using voice commands. Apple goes beyond voice control adding a new intercom feature that lets you send a message across all connected devices, including AirPods.
The HomePod mini is a speaker at heart and Apple hasn’t held back. The speakers deliver 360-degree audio, so you can place it anywhere. Powered by the S5 chipset, the HomePod mini uses a computational audio feature that adjusts the sound for the specific environment. It also works with Apple’s U1 chipset allowing you to seamlessly hand off audio from one device to another.
The new HomePod mini will be available for pre-orders starting November 6th and will ship in the following weeks. The new HomePod mini will cost $99. It will be available in either space gray or white color options.