The Apple HomePod is among the best-selling smart speakers on this planet, and since its launch in 2018 it’s represented an alternative choice to the likes of the Amazon Echo and Google Nest audio system for individuals who love the Apple ecosystem.
A part of the HomePod’s success was all the way down to its incredible sound high quality and understated design – however it wasn’t with out shortcomings, and the built-in voice assistant Siri couldn’t compete with the sensible dwelling integration supplied by Alexa and Google Assistant.
That’s why rumors of a brand new and improved HomePod had been so compelling – and two years on from the unique’s launch, the corporate introduced the Apple HomePod mini at its iPhone 12 launch in October.
Smaller and cheaper than the unique HomePod, the mini is designed to “act because the mind of your sensible dwelling” in response to Apple, and it comes with an all-new design and nifty options like the power to forged voice messages to Apple gadgets – together with AirPods – in your house.
So, is it value upgrading to the HomePod mini if you have already got the unique Apple sensible speaker? Or, in the event you’re seeking to spend money on your first wireless speaker, which one do you have to purchase? Whereas we’re but to check the HomePod mini for ourselves, we’ve taken a have a look at the specs that will help you make an knowledgeable resolution as soon as the newer speaker is in the stores on November 6.
What’s new with the Apple HomePod mini?
The Apple HomePod mini is the lengthy awaited successor to the unique HomePod; smaller, cheaper, and coming with enhanced compatibility with the Apple ecosystem, it might be a compelling different to its larger predecessor.
One of many greatest adjustments with the brand new HomePod mini in comparison with its predecessor is its value; it’s set to value $99 / £99 / AU$149, which is much cheaper than the unique HomePod, which value $349 / £319/ AU$499 when it launched in 2018.
Now that the Apple HomePod is somewhat older, it could normally be discovered at a reduction – and the launch of the HomePod mini means you’ll be able to anticipate some incredible Apple HomePod deals this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So, in case your coronary heart’s set on the largest Apple speaker, it’s effectively value ready till November 27 to purchase.
The HomePod mini’s low value did come as one thing of a shock; in any case, Apple isn’t precisely identified for being budget-friendly, and it places it in direct competitors with the brand new Amazon Echo and the Google Nest Audio, which each value $99.99 / £89.99 / AU$149.
The Apple HomePod mini appears like a squatter model of the HomePod, with a extra rounded construct that’s fairly just like the brand new Amazon Echo.
It’s far smaller than its predecessor at simply 3.3 inches tall, however it shares the identical wraparound cloth grille and touch-sensitive management panel on the highest, and it’s out there in the identical white and house grey colours.
So, in the event you’re searching for a compact desk buddy, or a wise speaker that can sit comfortably in your kitchen counter or bedside desk, the HomePod mini might be your finest wager.
Whereas we are able to’t make a real evaluation of the HomePod mini’s audio efficiency with out testing it for ourselves, the specs shared by Apple offers us just a few clues as to the way it might sound in comparison with the unique HomePod.
For starters, its far smaller construct means it in all probability received’t be fairly as highly effective because the Apple HomePod; actually, it incorporates only one driver that acts as a woofer and a tweeter in comparison with the seven tweeters and separate woofer discovered contained in the bigger HomePod. You’ll be able to virtually make certain that the HomePod mini received’t be as bassy or attain as excessive a stage of quantity as its predecessor.
Saying that, the brand new sensible speaker incorporates the Apple S5 chip, which Apple says can “analyze the distinctive traits of the music and apply advanced tuning fashions to optimize loudness, regulate the dynamic vary, and management the motion of the driving force and passive radiators in actual time”.
So, the HomePod mini’s audio processing tech could possibly compensate considerably for its smaller dimension. Even so, it’s unlikely to be a match for the unique HomePod’s beamforming expertise, which permits it to robotically adapt its sound output to swimsuit the room it’s positioned in.
The unique Apple HomePod supplied incredible audio high quality – and based mostly on the specs, we don’t suppose the mini will fairly measure up. So, if it’s all concerning the sound for you, the older HomePod might be your finest wager.
Saying that, you’ll be able to pair two HomePod minis for stereo sound – and it’s far cheaper to purchase two of those than two of the unique HomePods.
There are some connectivity options which might be coming to the HomePod mini that make it a sexy proposition over the unique HomePod; although it’s doable that these options might be shared between each audio system sooner or later.
The unique HomePod supplied nice compatibility with Apple’s ecosystem, and that is being taken even additional by the smaller sensible speaker.
For instance, once you’re listening to music in your telephone, you’ll be able to merely deliver your machine near HomePod mini and, in response to Apple, “seamlessly hand off the music with out lacking a beat”. The corporate says visible, audible, and haptic results when sound transfers from one machine to a different are coming later this yr.
In addition to that, you will get customized listening ideas in your iPhone when it is subsequent to your Apple HomePod mini, in addition to the power to regulate the HomePod with out unlocking your telephone.
As we stated, this function might feasibly come to the 2018 HomePod through a software program replace – as we’ve already seen with the HomePod mini’s Intercom function (extra on that later).
Siri and sensible dwelling options
The Apple HomePod mini comes with the corporate’s voice assistant Siri built-in, identical to its predecessor – and any upgrades that include the HomePod mini might be out there on the unique HomePod, too.
These upgrades embrace the power to establish who in your family is talking to Siri, in addition to the power to tailor music and podcasts to their preferences. Siri Shortcuts created in your iPhone may also be out there on the HomePods, which suggests you’ll be able to ask it do issues like add milk to your grocery record.
Siri can even play ambient appears like rainfall that will help you calm down, enable you to discover lacking gadgets with the Discover My function, set music alarms, and ship net outcomes from voice searches straight to your iPhone.
With Siri in-built, you should utilize the HomePod mini to regulate your sensible dwelling gadgets, whether or not you wish to flip off your sensible lights or change the temperature along with your sensible thermostat – nonetheless, one of many huge bugbears with the Apple HomePod is the truth that it simply doesn’t have the identical capability for sensible dwelling management as Alexa and Google House gadgets.
What concerning the Apple HomePod?
The older Apple HomePod is getting two new options of its personal – one shared by the the HomePod mini, and one unique to the bigger sensible speaker.
Introduced alongside the HomePod mini is a brand new function referred to as Intercom, and it’s out there on the unique HomePod, too. The function permits the Apple HomePod to double up as an intercom system in your dwelling, letting you ship voice messages to different HomePods, iPhones, iPads, CarPlay, and even AirPods. This function is on the market for the HomePod mini too, so if you wish to create an affordable intercom system and have already got a bigger HomePod, we’d suggest shopping for the extra budget-friendly Homepod mini to finish your setup.
One new function that appears to be unique to the older HomePod is the power to operate as a encompass speaker in 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos spatial audio – it’s anticipated to return through a software program replace within the coming weeks.
It’ll work in the event you’ve solely bought a single speaker, however putting one on both aspect of your TV will allow the total ‘spatial sound’ expertise that you just get from Atmos, the place it locations you as an object within the soundscape and fires the noise throughout.
If Dolby Atmos is a dealbreaker and also you wish to use your sensible speaker as a part of your home cinema setup, we’d suggest going for the older HomePod for that reason – it’s sonic heft and talent to create a digital encompass sound expertise means it’s the very best speaker for the job.
After all, the HomePod mini works in stereo in the event you purchase two, in order that’s an possibility in the event you’re on a stricter finances.
With out testing the HomePod mini totally, we are able to’t say for positive whether or not it is going to be a worthy funding or not – however it’s clear that it received’t share the identical audio energy as its older sibling.
As a smaller, cheaper model of the Apple HomePod, that’s totally to be anticipated – and if sound high quality isn’t your major concern, the Homepod mini might effectively be an effective way to regulate your sensible dwelling and take heed to some tunes within the course of, particularly in the event you’re furnishing a smaller house.
The identical is true if you wish to add Siri to a smaller room in your house and you have already got the unique HomePod – the brand new Intercom function means your total dwelling might be linked, and there’s no have to spend the cash on the bigger HomePod in the event you’re simply seeking to deliver sensible connectivity into a further room.
Nevertheless, if sound high quality is every thing to you, the bigger HomePod is prone to be your finest wager, because of its spectacular driver array, intelligent computerized audio adjustment, and upcoming help for Dolby Atmos.