Shortly after announcing a new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro and a revamped Mac Mini, Apple has announced a new full-size HomePod, which includes a host of upgrades and will begin shipping on February 3rd. We haven’t reviewed the new model yet, but preorders for the $299 device are available now through Apple, Adorama, Best Buy, and B&H Photo if you’re eager to adopt Apple’s latest smart speaker ahead of its release.
The second-generation HomePod is a follow-up to Apple’s original device from 2018, and while it mimics the design of the original (read: discontinued) model, some significant hardware improvements make Apple’s forthcoming automation hub worth looking into.
The biggest and perhaps most obvious upgrade to the new HomePod is its Thread support and Matter compatibility, which allows the speaker to communicate with other Matter-compatible devices and provides seamless connectivity and stability across your home network. The 2023 HomePod also features an upgraded S7 CPU, first seen in the Apple Watch Series 7, which should help the device keep pace with other smart home devices.
Curiously, Apple has scaled down the number of speakers and microphones included in the new HomePod. According to Apple, however, Siri will be able to recognize different voices and provide personalized responses, which should help iron out some of the issues we had with the original HomePod. The new smart speaker will have spatial audio support through Dolby Atmos, too, and Apple claims that the new model can adjust its sound by dynamically sensing where its placed in a room. Also, just like the original, you’ll be able to pair two HomePods together for stereo sound and use them as speakers for an Apple TV 4K.
As for other new additions, the new HomePod features a built-in temperature and humidity sensor that can be linked to trigger other smart home devices. The HomePod Mini apparently also has this feature, although it can’t be used in the same fashion.