Up to now, Apple offered the Smart Home Speaker as a HomePod at a price of about 329 Euros. Now Apple has introduced a smaller and much cheaper version. The new HomePod mini will be available for under 100 euros.
The appearance of the HomePod mini reminds a bit of the Amazon Echo. The shape has become much rounder than initially expected. The HomePod mini is therefore not just a scaled-down version of the original HomePod. What remains is the grid structure of the mesh, which is made of more than 90 percent recycled plastic, making it even better for the environment.
As with the Apple Watch 5, Apple relies on the S5-SoC for the HomePod mini. This should improve the sound quality by adjusting the sound 180 times per second. Apple calls this “Computational Audio”. The backlit top of the HomePod mini can be used to adjust the volume and it also displays Siri‘s voice commands. The whole thing is displayed in the usual colors and shapes as known from Siri so far.
If you have several HomePod minis, you can also connect them together as a speaker group or, if you use two speakers, set them up as a stereo pair. The intercom function allows users of several Apple devices or even HomePods to have a conversation, just like the Amazon Echo.
Unlike its big brother the HomePod, which uses a central subwoofer with a bass-reflex port, the mini uses two passive woofers and a central driver. To create a 360° sound, the HomePod mini has an acoustic waveguide, which directs the sound flow downwards and outwards at the bottom of the mini. In order to optimally capture the user’s voice, four speakers are used in the mini, one of which is directed inwards, which serves as sound insulation. The inner microphone improves voice recognition while music is being played simultaneously.
The HomePod mini’s standards for WLAN and Bluetooth have not yet been published. The big brother uses Bluetooth 5.0 here and offers WLAN 802.11ac in addition to AirPlay 2. The mini is compatible with iPhone SE, from iPhone 6s, iPod touch (7th generation) with iOS 14, with iPad Pro, iPad (5th generation or newer), from iPad Air 2 and from iPad mini 4 with iPadOS 14.
Before the end of this year, another function is to be unlocked for the HomePod mini. This should make it possible to use the U1 chip to detect the smartphone in the vicinity. This means that the music played on the cell phone can then be seamlessly transferred to the HomePod mini and played there. Apple would also like to support other music services such as Pandora, iHeartRadio and Amazon Music this year. Spotify was not mentioned in this release.
Availability and price
From November 6, 2020, the HomePod mini will also be available for pre-order in Germany. Delivery will then begin on November 16 at a price of 96.50 euros. The HomePod mini is available in black and white, as is the large HomePod.