Apple HomePod 2 unveiled with a faster chip and better sound quality

    Apple has brought the HomePod back in new and improved fashion. Today Apple announced the second generation of its full-size smart speaker and hub.

    The HomePod 2 has an updated design, Spatial Audio support, a custom-engineered woofer, improved sound with a built-in bass-EQ mic, and five tweeters at the base for powerful acoustics and is powered by a new S7 chip.

    Apple HomePod in black and white

    The new HomePod comes in black and white.
    Credit: Apple

    The second generation HomePod has built in sensors that recognize where it’s placed in the room (against a wall or freestanding) and calibrates the sound in real time, which creates more immersive sound for the user. Naturally, the HomePod 2 is fully integrated with Apple’s smart home system. It can be paired with a second HomePod for a stereo setup or intercom system, and Apple TV 4K, and uses Handoff to switch audio from an iPhone.

    It can also recognize smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to send a notification to the user’s iPhone, and has an internal temperature and humidity sensor for recognizing the internal environment. Users can make the HomePod a smart hub with the Home app to control lights, temperature, and security.

    Apple HomePod paired with an iPhone using the Home app

    Apple’s new HomePod wants to be your go-to smart hub device.
    Credit: Apple

    Apple discontinued the original HomePod in 2021 and instead focused on the HomePod mini. Now the HomePod 2 is back with features to contend with the less expensive Amazon Echo and Google Nest smart speakers. While the original HomePod cost $349, the new version is $299.

    It’s still pricier than Amazon Echo Studio ($199) and Google Nest Audio ($99) but much more competitive. It is available to pre-order online today and full availability starts February 3 and comes in white and “midnight” (black).

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