The Apple HomePod is among the best-selling sensible audio system 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 many who love the Apple ecosystem.
A part of the HomePod’s success was right down to its incredible sound high quality and understated design – nevertheless it wasn’t with out shortcomings, and the built-in voice assistant Siri couldn’t compete with the sensible house 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 house” based on Apple, and it comes with an all-new design and nifty options like the flexibility to forged voice messages to Apple gadgets – together with AirPods – in your house.
So, is it price upgrading to the HomePod mini if you have already got the unique Apple sensible speaker? Or, when you’re seeking to spend money on your first wi-fi speaker, which one must you 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 determination as soon as the newer speaker is that can be purchased 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 may very well be a compelling different to its greater predecessor.
One of many greatest adjustments with the brand new HomePod mini in comparison with its predecessor is its worth; it’s set to value $99 / £99 / AU$149, which is way cheaper than the unique HomePod, which value $349 / £319/ AU$499 when it launched in 2018.
Now that the Apple HomePod is a bit older, it could actually often be discovered at a reduction – and the launch of the HomePod mini means you possibly can count on some incredible Apple HomePod offers this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So, in case your coronary heart’s set on the most important Apple speaker, it’s nicely price ready till November 27 to purchase.
The HomePod mini’s low worth 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 to be like like a squatter model of the HomePod, with a extra rounded construct that’s fairly much like the brand new Amazon Echo.
It’s far smaller than its predecessor at simply three.three inches tall, nevertheless it shares the identical wraparound material grille and touch-sensitive management panel on the highest, and it’s out there in the identical white and area grey colours.
So, when you’re on the lookout for a compact desk buddy, or a sensible speaker that may sit comfortably in your kitchen counter or bedside desk, the HomePod mini might be your greatest 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 a couple of clues as to the way it may sound in comparison with the unique HomePod.
For starters, its far smaller construct means it in all probability gained’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 nearly make certain that the HomePod mini gained’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 complicated tuning fashions to optimize loudness, regulate the dynamic vary, and management the motion of the motive force and passive radiators in actual time”.
So, the HomePod mini’s audio processing tech might be able to compensate considerably for its smaller measurement. Even so, it’s unlikely to be a match for the unique HomePod’s beamforming expertise, which permits it to routinely adapt its sound output to go well with 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 in regards to the sound for you, the older HomePod might be your greatest wager.
Saying that, you possibly can 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 are coming to the HomePod mini that make it a lovely proposition over the unique HomePod; although it’s potential that these options may very well 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, whenever you’re listening to music in your telephone, you possibly can merely carry your gadget near HomePod mini and, based on Apple, “seamlessly hand off the music with out lacking a beat”. The corporate says visible, audible, and haptic results when sound transfers from one gadget to a different are coming later this 12 months.
In addition to that, you will get personalised listening solutions in your iPhone when it is subsequent to your Apple HomePod mini, in addition to the flexibility to regulate the HomePod with out unlocking your telephone.
As we mentioned, this function may 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 house options
The Apple HomePod mini comes with the corporate’s voice assistant Siri built-in, similar to its predecessor – and any upgrades that include the HomePod mini will probably be out there on the unique HomePod, too.
These upgrades embody the flexibility to establish who in your family is chatting with Siri, in addition to the flexibility to tailor music and podcasts to their preferences. Siri Shortcuts created in your iPhone may also be out there on the HomePods, which implies you possibly can ask it do issues like add milk to your grocery listing.
Siri may play ambient seems like rainfall that will help you loosen up, provide help to discover lacking gadgets with the Discover My function, set music alarms, and ship internet outcomes from voice searches straight to your iPhone.
With Siri in-built, you need to use the HomePod mini to regulate your sensible house gadgets, whether or not you wish to flip off your sensible lights or change the temperature together with your sensible thermostat – nonetheless, one of many massive bugbears with the Apple HomePod is the truth that it simply doesn’t have the identical capability for sensible house management as Alexa and Google Residence gadgets.
What in regards to 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 known 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 house, letting you ship voice messages to different HomePods, iPhones, iPads, CarPlay, and even AirPods. This function is obtainable for the HomePod mini too, so if you wish to create an inexpensive intercom system and have already got a bigger HomePod, we’d advocate 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 flexibility 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 when you’ve solely bought a single speaker, however inserting 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 own home cinema setup, we’d advocate going for the older HomePod for that reason – it’s sonic heft and talent to create a digital encompass sound expertise means it’s one of the best speaker for the job.
In fact, the HomePod mini works in stereo when you purchase two, in order that’s an possibility when you’re on a stricter finances.
With out testing the HomePod mini completely, we are able to’t say for certain whether or not it will likely be a worthy funding or not – nevertheless it’s clear that it gained’t share the identical audio energy as its older sibling.
As a smaller, cheaper model of the Apple HomePod, that’s solely to be anticipated – and if sound high quality isn’t your principal concern, the Homepod mini may nicely be an effective way to regulate your sensible house and take heed to some tunes within the course of, particularly when you’re furnishing a smaller area.
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 house may be linked, and there’s no have to spend the cash on the bigger HomePod when you’re simply seeking to carry sensible connectivity into an extra room.
Nonetheless, if sound high quality is all the pieces to you, the bigger HomePod is more likely to be your greatest wager, because of its spectacular driver array, intelligent computerized audio adjustment, and upcoming assist for Dolby Atmos.