Apple announces Homepod Mini, a tiny smart speaker with a big feature set

Apple announces Homepod Mini, a tiny smart speaker with a big feature set

The new Homepod Mini. Image via Apple

Apple announced the new Homepod Mini, a tiny smart speaker. The device features a single high-range driver and two subwoofers, as well as plenty of software smarts. Key features include Apple’s trademark ecosystem integration, including Intercom, a new tool that allows people to send voice messages from the speaker to multiple other Apple devices.

Apple today announced the Homepod Mini, a lilliputian smart speaker that looks to be about 1/3 the size of the standard Homepod.

The top of the device serves as a touch panel for controlling the device. It also illuminates in a myriad of colors when the user calls on Siri for queries or controls.

Sound is put out by a single large driver and two large bass woofers which fire out the side of the device. Apple has designed the audio to blast out in a sphere.

The Homepod Mini features Apple’s S5 chip allows for “computational audio,” which is a fancy way of saying software helps to enhance the audio experience. The device constantly scans music data to tune and rebalance audio for an “optimal audio experience,” according to Apple. The Homepod Mini can also be paired with a second Mini for a stereo experience.

Apple emphasized privacy and security as a key feature of the Homepod Mini. Personal requests are only carried out when your iPhone is with you (likely within proximity of your voice). 

Homepod Mini supports Apple Music and Podcasts, as well as iHeartRadio. In the future, the speaker will also integrate with Amazon Music and Pandora.

Because this is an Apple device, it integrates well with Apple’s ecosystem, particularly with the iPhone. The Homepod Mini can send messages, update you on the weather, and more via Siri. Apple also showed that Siri on the Homepod Mini can even differentiate between the voices of multiple people, customizing requests based on voice alone.

The Homepod Mini also integrates with the iOS Home app for smart home controls. A new feature, called Intercom, lets users send a voice message from a Homepod Mini to another Homepod Mini, a vehicle with Apple CarPlay, an iPhone, an Apple Watch, Airpods, and other Apple devices.

Homepod Mini will be available on November 6 for $99. It will ship out starting November 16.

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