Without any further ado, Tim Cook launched into Apple’s first announcement for its Hi, Speed event — the launch of the HomePod Mini. Which is a diminutive smart speaker for the home, along the lines of the Google Home Mini — only made by Apple, of course.
Of course, the original HomePod isn’t actually here. We didn’t care much before this but seeing HomePod Mini… yeah, someone better bring this one to SA.
Apple’s little helper
Apple’s dinky little speaker is designed around privacy and security, with audio quality and smart home functions in mind. The heart of this, according to Apple, is the inclusion of its S5 chip — which allows for something the company calls computational audio. Apparently, the speaker will tune your audio on the fly, based on what’s playing and what your room looks like. It’s probably going to sound awesome.
Apple’s also arranging intelligent stereo pairing — where putting two HomePod Minis in the same room automatically sets them to stereo mode — in addition to synced audio between all devices in a home. There’s also an iPhone handoff mode, with physical (haptic) effects, and visual interaction between the two devices. Apple Music will be supported, obvs., but there’s also support either built-in or inbound for other services. Mostly American ones but… yeah, HomePod’s not here yet.
The HomePod Mini supports Siri voice recognition, and multiple users can use the device at the same time. Works with HomeKit, so those with Apple smart home kit can control it with their voices. It must be nice… Another cool feature is Intercom, which lets you send a message from one HomePod to the others in the home. The feature will also work with iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch — it’s basically a voice note you can send to your sibling’s room. This isn’t going to be abused at all…
The Apple HomePod Mini will launch at $99 (R1,630) in both White and Space Grey. Pre-orders start from 6 November, and the device ships on 16 November — overseas, of course. We’ll be watching closely for local info.