Apple Announce Brand New HomePod

Apple has done something some hoped would happen, and some thought would never happen – bring back the HomePod. After being officially discontinued nearly two years ago, back in March of 2021, the company has now introduced an all-new HomePod, that features an S7 chip (also found in the series 7 Apple Watch), with preorders starting today, followed by shipping on February 3rd in a few territories, which include the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, China, and Japan, amongst others, with pricing for the US at US$299.00.

The original HomePod came with a woofer and seven tweeters, whereas the newer model has cut this down to just five tweeters (plus woofer), and reduced the microphone array from six to four, but adds a few extras to the mix that will definitely appeal to smart home fans.

First off, as expected, the new HomePod will be a fully functional Matter controller that also adds a Thread Border Router to its internals, which now brings it in line with the HomePod Mini and later versions of the Apple TV4K – specifically the 2021 model, and the 128gb 2022 model.

The HomePod still comes in just two colourways, with White and the new ‘Midnight’ instead of black or ‘Space Grey’.

It also adds built-in temperature and humidity sensors, which are also listed as being available on the HomePod Mini, although these are not exposed to HomeKit and are exclusive to the Apple Home app for use in automations. Additionally, the new HomePod has sound recognition, that can detect alarm sounds from smoke and carbon monoxide sensors, with the HomePod then alerting you via (we assume) Critical Alerts on your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. The sound recognition feature will be activated by a future update.

It’s great to see the HomePod make a return, even if the price point doesn’t seem to have budged a lot from the last discounted price of the previous generation.

Thanks to Mariusz Szwed for the screenshots

The Editor

Editor - Musician, graphic designer and HomeKit aficionado.

6 thoughts on “Apple Announce Brand New HomePod

  • Exciting times, particularly exposing the Temp/RH sensors to HomeKit. Unlike the sound recognition feature which is explicitly noted for a spring release, there’s no such note for the climate sensors. Maybe as soon as 16.3 next week if Apple decides to add it last minute to a new build.

    According to this page:

    “The new built-in temperature and humidity sensor can measure indoor environments, so users can create automations that close the blinds or turn on the fan automatically when a certain temperature is reached in a room. ”

    Hopefully that means automation in HomeKit directly and not through Shortcuts. I may be able to avoid getting the new Thread Qingping sensors this way considering every room already has a HomePod mini.

    • Most of all, I hope the new HomePod is an improved Home hub as well. I can’t afford to replace every HomePod mini in my home with this, but if the HomePod is afforded a better chance at being a Home hub and is good at that job (hopefully the newer chip helps?) like the Apple TV 4K then even a stereo HomePod setup at the center of my home being the hub when the Apple TV 4K isn’t sounds good. I’m not sure if Wi-Fi is always the bottleneck that prevents a Home hub from performing well so hopefully this new HomePod having only Wi-Fi wouldn’t end up having that as the weakest link again.

      For the last 2 years I’ve been hoping for Apple to release a better and improved speaker that can be a more performant Home hub since I don’t need an Apple TV in every corner of my home, so hopefully this is it. I can at least have a reason to place several of this instead in core locations of my home that would benefit to an upgrade from the mini.

    • Since I can’t edit comments, I’ll just add this here:

      The 16.3 RC does expose the temperature and humidity of the HomePod mini directly in HomeKit. It’s now presented under Climate like any temperature and humidity sensors would. The 16.3 RC release notes doesn’t mention it for the mini other than there are “new features”, but I’m happy to share that it’s there.

      It also requires 16.3 to be installed on either iPhone or iPad. It never showed up for me on iOS 16.2 after waiting for an hour at least.

      • Hi, yes you’re correct. I’ve just confirmed this with another colleague and updated the article to reflect this. Thanks for taking the time to inform me.

        • Great! It would be nice if you can check when the new HomePod comes out if it can do local or on-device Siri processing like the iPhone. The HomePod mini can’t(?) presumably due to its internals, but since the new HomePod comes with better ones I am assuming it should be capable of doing the same on-device processing the iPhone does. I’m very curious if it will improve the execution of Home commands there if it can do offline Siri.

          I’m also curious if the new HomePod will come with different temperature/humidity sensors and how it fares next to a mini since the question for many right now seems to be if the mini is even accurate at sensing these values.

  • It’s great News! The sound was really good in the original.

    I hope they will do so it can work as home theater audio system, with atmos. Like if you have say
    Four or five of them.

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