Apple has launched an $149 HomePod Mini that is designed to expand the usage of Siri.
At just under 8.5 centimetres tall, HomePod mini is supposedly packed with innovative new Apple audio technology and advanced software that together enable computational audio to deliver breakthrough audio listening.
“HomePod mini has everything customers want in a smart speaker — amazing sound for listening to music, a world-class intelligent assistant that delivers a personal experience to each member of the household, and like every Apple product, it’s designed with privacy and security in mind,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.The original HomePod was designed for audiophiles according to Apple, this device was a big flop.
It’s high price served as a high barrier of entry to new users looking for a new smart speaker.
Complicating that “smart speaker” designation is the face that Siri was and is several years behind the intelligence of both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, leaving the speaker as a more compromised choice for users who might have been hoping to embrace the fully smart home ecosystem.
The new device starts shipping on November 16. The device comes in white and space grey colors.
• Siri Shortcuts™ created on iPhone and iPad are accessible on HomePod mini, so users can ask Siri on HomePod mini to start a pot of coffee, control a robot vacuum, add milk to the grocery list, and more.
• Ambient sounds, including rain, a fireplace, a stream, and more, offer the perfect background noise to focus, relax, or fall asleep. Siri can set a sleep timer so the sounds automatically stop playing.
• Find My helps locate a misplaced iPhone, iPad, iPod touch®, Mac, or Apple Watch by playing a sound to pinpoint its location.
• Web search results from HomePod mini can be sent directly to the user’s iPhone for easy viewing.
• Music alarms let users wake up to a favourite song, playlist, or radio station from Apple Music.
When two minis are placed in the same room, they can automatically play in stereo pair, too. The HomePod mini also introduces a new ‘intercom’ feature, allowing users to send messages between HomePods in the home as well as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods and CarPlay.