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HomePod Mini

A powerful smart speaker with amazing sound

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HomePod Mini

During its October iPhone event, Apple unveiled the HomePod mini. The HomePod mini is a new circular ‘bowl’ designed speaker aimed to be the ‘little brother’ to the original HomePod like the Amazon Echo Dot is to the Amazon Echo.

The speaker emits sound in a 360-degree array. The mini is powered by the Apple S5 chip that also powers the Apple Watch. Alongside the hardware, Apple announced several new feature updates for Siri.

HomePod mini pricing

While the original HomePod retailed for $349 originally (Now $299), the HomePod mini is only $99. This price point will make it easy to put Siri, Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and HomeKit in every room of the house.

HomePod mini pairing

Like the original HomePod, the mini will come wrapped in mesh fabric in either black or white options.

“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. “HomePod mini is the ultimate smart speaker for anyone with an Apple device. It works effortlessly with iPhone to hand off music, answer calls, or deliver personalized listening suggestions, elevates the sound from Apple TV, plays music from a Mac, and so much more. There’s a lot of Apple innovation packed into such a small speaker, all at an affordable price.”

Supported Services

The mini works with Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, radio stations from iHeartRadio, radio.com, and TuneIn, and it will be adding support for Pandora and Amazon Music in the coming months. Support for Spotify was not mentioned.

Stereo support

Multiple speakers work together to stream music or podcasts to multiple rooms, all in perfect sync. By placing two mini speakers in a single room, a stereo pair can be created for a room-filling sound. A mini cannot be paired with the original HomePod for stereo pair.

New features

Siri with HomePod can identify who is speaking and customize music and podcasts to their preferences, and respond to personal requests, like accessing iMessages, reminders, notes, and calendar events, or answering phone calls. Siri on HomePods also offers a new personal update for a quick snapshot of the upcoming day.

With a single command, users can ask Siri “What’s my update?” to hear the latest news, weather, traffic, reminders, and calendar appointments.

In the new intercom feature, you can send an Intercom message from one HomePod to another — regardless if they are in a different room, a specific zone, or multiple rooms throughout the home — and their voice will automatically play on the designated HomePod.

Intercom will work across with HomePods, as well as iPhone, iPadApple Watch, and even CarPlay.

Additional Features

  • Siri Shortcuts created on iPhone and iPad are usable on HomePod mini, so users can ask Siri the mini to start a pot of coffee or add bread to the grocery list, and more.
  • Ambient sounds offer the perfect background noise to focus, relax, or fall asleep. Siri can set a sleep timer so the sounds automatically stop playing after a half-hour, etc.
  • Find My helps locate a misplaced iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch by playing a sound to help locate it.
  • Web search results from mini can be sent directly to an iPhone.
  • Music alarms let you wake up to a favorite song, playlist, or station from Apple Music.

Keep reading for the latest news, deals, and reviews about Apple’s latest smart speaker. Check out 9to5Toys for the latest Apple deals.

HomeKit Weekly: HomePod mini finally makes Siri reliable for HomeKit in every room

There’s been a lot of discussion about Apple’s decision to discontinue the original HomePod and its relation to what the future of Apple’s Home strategy will become. I highly recommend that you read Zac Hall’s piece on this topic. This week, I want to look at the positive aspects of where Apple is at with its Home strategy. After filling my house with HomePod minis, I’ve now discovered how essential having a voice-driven Home assistant in every room is for your home. Read on to learn why, despite having a lower-quality music speaker, the HomePod mini and HomeKit are the perfect match for each other.

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HomePod mini reportedly includes room temperature and humidity sensor, could be enabled through software update

According to Bloomberg, and backed up by analysis from iFixit, the HomePod mini includes a secret sensor that is designed to measure the current temperature and humidity of the room the HomePod mini is in. It seems like this sensor could be activated through a software update to provide new functionality to HomePod mini users.

Various third-party HomeKit products exist that can measure room temperature, but it would be convenient for HomeKit users if the HomePod mini could do it without the need for an additional accessory.

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[Update: Post-mortem] Here’s how HomePod mini compares to HomePod

HomePod mini vs HomePod comparison

Apple debuted the HomePod mini back in October with an all-new spherical design and impressive list of features and specs priced at $99 — $200 less than the list price of its bigger brother. Read on for a detailed HomePod mini vs HomePod comparison.

Update 3/15/21: Now that the original HomePod has been discontinued you might be wondering if it’s worth picking one (or more?) up before they’re totally sold out. Or maybe you’re just curious about the unique features of the larger HomePod like Dolby Atmos, spatial awareness, and richer sound.

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HomePod Mini

Deep dive looks at how Thread could be the future of HomeKit

Thread has emerged over the last year as the latest way for smart home devices to communicate. Apple built-in support for the protocol with the HomePod mini and we’re seeing a variety of third-party smart home products from Eve and Nanoleaf introduce support. Now Eve has shared a nice deep dive on Thread, the advantages of the P2P smart home device protocol, and why it could be the future of HomeKit.

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How to use HomePod Intercom feature

Unwrap a new HomePod? Here’s how to set up the Intercom feature

One of the biggest new features to arrive for HomePod this year is Intercom support. And the handy feature is now available to more people than ever with HomePod mini arriving and many likely being gifted one over the holidays. Follow along for how to set up and use the HomePod Intercom feature on the smart speakers and your other Apple devices.

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iOS 14.4 beta changes and features – HomePod mini gets new U1-assisted Handoff experience

The initial iOS 14.4 beta includes a new feature that was first demonstrated during Apple’s iPhone 12 event. The new feature specifically relates to the HomePod mini and its U1 Ultra Wideband chip that allows for spatial awareness. An iPhone equipped with the U1 chip can interact with Apple’s diminutive smart speaker in new ways on iOS 14.4. Watch our hands-on walkthrough as we explore the updated Handoff experience and other iOS 14.4 beta changes and features.

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First HomePod mini orders now shipping to customers

Apple Store customers are starting to get shipment notifications for the HomePod mini. Most day one orders appear to be set to be delivered from Tuesday, November 17.

The HomePod mini is Apple’s latest attempt to crack the smart speaker market, with a $99 offering that reviewers said produces the best sound in its size class. The big HomePod is still the go-to option for people wanting the highest audio quality, but its high price has meant Apple has only sold a few million of them since its 2018 launch. The HomePod mini stacks up more favorably against cheaper competition from Amazon Echo and Google Home.

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