Apple has wasted little time getting to the big announcements during its iPhone reveal event today, and it led the show with the confirmation we’ve all been waiting for: HomePod mini. As the name suggests, the HomePod mini is a smaller version of the HomePod, with Apple promising “amazing sound,” from the speaker despite its tiny size.
On the inside, the HomePod mini uses a single driver paired with two radiators and uses Apple’s S5 chip. At the bottom of the speaker, there’s a cone-shaped “acoustic waveguide,” that Apple boasts will ensure 180-degree sound. Apple also says that the HomePod mini employs “computational audio,” which measure the room the HomePod mini is placed in to determine things like loudness and dynamic range. Helping with that computational audio is a set of four microphones – three facing outward and one facing inward to help with voice detection while music is playing.
It seems that the HomePod mini is meant to be grouped in pairs, which of course allows for stereo sound. With multiple HomePod minis synced across a house, users can tap into Siri to turn the speaker network into something of an Intercom system. The feature works across other Apple devices as well, including Apple Watch, iPhone, and even CarPlay.
HomePod mini includes Apple’s U1 chip, and will be able to serve as a HomeKit hub, just as previous leaks suggested. With that HomeKit functionality and features like Intercom, it’s clear that Apple envisions HomePod mini at the center of a smart home set up. The U1 chip should help with the handoff experience too, allowing users to simply hold their iPhones close to the speaker to hand off the music they’re currently listening to.
Perhaps most important is the price of the HomePod, with Apple announcing a $99 price tag today – far less than the $300 Apple currently charges for the standard HomePod, or the $349 it cost at launch. The HomePod will be available in two different colors – white and space gray – with orders opening up on November 6th and shipments beginning on November 16th.