Cupertino giant Apple kickstarted its iPhone event by unveiling the newest addition to the HomePod family. The HomePod mini has been designed focusing on offering impressive sound, smart assistant, security and smart home control. Priced at Rs 9,900, the HomePod mini can be ordered starting November 9 and will be available beginning the week of November 16. The new HomePod model comes over a couple of years after the first HomePod went on sale in early 2018.
"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. 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 personalised 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," said Bob Borchers, Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, Apple.
The HomePod mini is compatible with iPhone SE, iPhone 6s or later, or iPod touch (7th generation) running iOS 14; or iPad Pro, iPad (5th generation or later), iPad Air 2 or later, or iPad mini 4 or later running iPad OS 14. It is designed to work with Apple Music, podcasts, radio stations from iHeartRadio, radio.com, and TuneIn, and in the coming months, popular music services including Pandora and Amazon Music. And multiple HomePod mini speakers can be paired together to stream music or podcasts to multiple rooms, all in sync. By placing two HomePod mini speakers in a single room, a stereo pair can be created for a wide soundstage.
The company also claims that the new HomePod mini has been designed using 99 per cent recycled rare earth elements, with the neodymium magnet in the speaker driver utilising 100 per cent recycled rare earth elements. The mesh fabric is made with more than 90 per cent recycled plastic, and all of the packaging wood fibres are from responsibly managed forests or recycled sources. HomePod mini is also free of mercury, brominated flame retardants, PVC, and beryllium.
Measuring 3.3-inch tall, the smart speaker packs in Apple S5 chip that works with advanced software to analyse the unique characteristics of the music and apply complex tuning models to optimise loudness, adjust the dynamic range, and control the movement of the driver and passive radiators in real-time. The Apple-engineered full-range driver, powered by a neodymium magnet and a pair of force-cancelling passive radiators, enables deep bass and crisp high frequencies.
Applying the same acoustic principles used to deliver amazing sound in HomePod, HomePod mini features an Apple-designed acoustic waveguide to direct the flow of sound down and out toward the bottom of the speaker for an immersive 360-degree audio experience. A three-microphone array listens for "Hey Siri," and a fourth inward-facing microphone helps isolate sound coming from the speaker to improve voice detection when music is playing.
HomePod mini, powered by Apple's smart assistant Siri, can be used for picking up an incoming call, listen to music on the Mac, or upgrade the TV experience by taking the sound from Apple TV to the next level. Later this year, it will also get visual, audible, and haptic effects when sound transfers from one device to the other. Personalised listening suggestions will also automatically appear on iPhone when it is next to HomePod mini, and instant controls are available without having to unlock iPhone
The HomePod mini is a home hub, providing access to smart home accessories while at home or away. There is a new Intercom feature that offers a quick and easy way for family members to connect at home. One person can send an Intercom message from one HomePod to another - whether in a different room, a specific zone, or multiple rooms throughout the home - and their voice will automatically play on the designated HomePod speaker.
Focusing on security, Apple said that only after "Hey Siri" is recognised locally on the device, or the user activates Siri by touch, any information be sent to Apple servers. Requests are not associated with the user's Apple ID, and personal information is not sold to advertisers or other organisations.