The second-generation HomePod Is Here, With New Features and a Lower Price
February 6, 2023
In 2017, during the fever for Amazon’s promising Echo and other technology companies jumping on the smart speaker bandwagon, Apple announced the HomePod. As the company’s first smart speaker, but it was not too popular, and it was quietly discontinued in 2021. Now the HomePod is back, and Apple hopes its clients buy one this time.
The HomePod lives
The second-generation HomePod arrives in the same spherical design, mesh speaker covering, and touch panel on the top the same as the previous one. In the same two colors, black and white; with the same limitation as Siri, and without offering anything extra like the possibility of using it via Bluetooth, not just AirPlay. Nor does it open to Spotify as the default streaming music service, you must keep resorting to trickery.
Just like the original model, the HomePod adjusts sound over time based on the walls and furniture in the room. Also, it has a “custom-engineered high-excursion woofer, powerful motor that drives the diaphragm of a remarkable 20 mm, built-in bass-EQ mic, and beamforming array of five tweeters around the base,” all powered by an S7, the same chip used in the Apple Watch Series 7, released in October 2021. Only 16 months of delay in the chip.
Another novelty of this HomePod is that it can distinguish the sound of fire alarms and send an alert to the iPhone of its owner. It also has a humidity and temperature, that means, the sensor is oriented to work with HomeKit, and of course, compatibility with Matter, something that also bring the Apple TV or the HomePod mini itself.
The bad part is
Unfortunately, the new HomePod still is not as flexible as other running Google Assistant or Alexa. The specifications page says it’s compatible with Apple Music and “third-party music services” and if it is the same as the HomePod Mini, that only gives you TuneIn, Deezer, iHeartRadio, Radio.com, Pandora, and Amazon Music. There is no native support for YouTube Music, or other popular services!
We can say, that the new HomePod looks like an excellent smart speaker… if you are already neck-deep in the Apple ecosystem.
The hot topic is the price. Well… It is available to order now for $299 ($50 drop from the first model’s price). While the original model in Europe was for 350 euros. And what is the price of this new HomePod? 350 euros. If, we think on the inflation of this time, it is cheaper in real terms, but, hey! It is still 350 euros.
By the way! It will start shipping to buyers on Friday, February 3.
Has anything changed in these two years?
I see it complicated. And more so because this time, unlike in 2017, there is a more affordable and versatile alternative, the HomePod mini. The HomePod is a speaker that sounds spectacular and fits well in an Apple ecosystem, but the financial equations play against it.
With what the big one costs, it is possible to buy four small ones (if we do it with European currency) and have two stereo pairs to cover two different rooms. It is a comparison that complicates the idea of a HomePod selling at a good pace.