Apple has announced the launch of its second-gen HomePod smart speaker, nearly two years after discontinuing its predecessor. The new HomePod has a slightly refined design and promises incredible audio quality. It can reproduce tracks encoded with spatial audio as well as integrate with compatible smart home products thanks to Apple’s Siri voice-based personal assistant and S7 processor. It is available in White and a new Midnight colour option. The second-gen HomePod is priced at Rs. 32,900 in India and is available to pre order right away through official Apple retailers. It will go on sale from February 3.
In terms of sound quality, Apple says it has engineered the HomePod’s custom high-excursion woofer to deliver remarkable bass. An array of five tweeters around the circumference of the device allows for immersive audio. Built-in sensors and an EQ microphone, plus Apple’s in-house S7 processor, make it possible for the HomePod to perform its own computational operations to maximise its potential, according to Apple. The device can recognise sound reflections and adjust itself based on how it is positioned in a room. Beamforming is used to direct ambient audio and deliver spatial audio experiences.
Like its predecessor and the smaller HomePod mini (Review), the new HomePod has a mesh exterior which Apple says is made of 100 percent recycled fabric. The backlit touch surface on the top of its cylindrical body can be used to activate the Siri voice assistant.
The HomePod can also be used as an in-home intercom system to broadcast messages. Two HomePods can be set up as a stereo pair, or multiple units throughout a home can be synchronised, and users can hand off whatever’s playing on an iPhone to the nearest speaker. When set up with an Apple TV, one or more HomePod speakers can take over all audio output and also let users control what’s playing with voice commands.
The second-gen HomePod is capable of listening for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and can notify users on their iPhones when they are away. Integrated temperature and humidity sensors allow for smart home routine integrations such as toggling appliances based on environmental conditions. The Matter standard for smart home integration should allow for better interoperability with a wide range of IoT products and accessories.
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