Apple has revived the larger HomePod with a second-generation model that boasts improved sound quality in addition to improved intelligence and computing abilities. Pre-orders for the new HomePod, which has a suggested retail price of $299, are now open. On February 3, in-store sales and shipping will start in the United States and some other countries.
The new HomePod is available in two colors: white and “Midnight,” which Apple has preferred over the traditional black option on most recent product releases, including the M2 MacBook Air. Although we haven’t actually seen it on the HomePod, it appears to be a very dark blue that, under most lighting conditions, almost looks like black.
This updated HomePod features a “acoustically transparent mesh fabric” covering, Siri voice control, and Apple’s proprietary Spatial Audio technology for realistic sound reproduction. Additionally, users can now completely design Siri smart home automations on the HomePod using just their voice.
The S7 chip, which also powers the Apple Watch Series 7, is what powers the HomePod internally. That should significantly improve its performance over the original HomePod, which used an Apple A8 chip to power the iPad mini 4, iPhone 6, and most recently released iPod touch.
The HomePod can be stereo-paired with another HomePod for better sound and has room-sensing technology to change its sound profile according to its surroundings. If you have more than one, you can use them as intercoms throughout the entire house and integrate them with your sound system using an Apple TV 4K and eARC.
Additionally, according to Apple, the updated HomePod now supports Matter and can serve as a hub for the company’s HomeKit smart home system.