Apple's full-size HomePod smart speaker returns with updated internals

Shawn Knight

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In a nutshell: Apple has announced an updated version of its HomePod smart speaker set to launch early next month. The second-generation HomePod features a high-excursion, 4-inch woofer with 20mm of travel alongside an array of five horn-loaded tweeters (each with its own neodymium magnet) and an internal low-frequency calibration microphone for automatic bass correction.

There are also four microphones for far-field Siri access and support for spatial audio with Dolby Atmos. Design-wise, the new speaker looks a lot like the original with acoustically transparent mesh fabric and a backlit touch surface on top. It measures 5.6 inches wide, 6.6 inches high and weighs a touch over five pounds.

The new HomePod also utilizes 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 wireless, and is compatible with iPhone SE Gen 2 and later and iPhone 8 and later running iOS 16.3 or later as well as most modern iPads. A complete list of compatible devices is available over on the HomePod product page.

It's also compatible with HomeKit- or Matter-enabled Thread accessories and can be configured in a pair (using two units) to separate the left and right channels for a wider soundstage. Room sensing tech recognizes sound reflections from nearby surfaces and adapts the sound in real time for the best listening experience.

Apple introduced its first HomePod speaker back in 2017 and launched it in February of the following year. Initial reviews were mixed, and not everyone was thrilled with the fact that the speaker could leave white marks on certain surfaces. Apple was reportedly disappointed by early sales, no doubt factoring into its decision to discontinue the speaker in March 2021 after launching the smaller and more affordable HomePod Mini in late 2020.

"Leveraging our audio expertise and innovations, the new HomePod delivers rich, deep bass, natural mid-range, and clear, detailed highs," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

Apple's new HomePod is available to order online from today in your choice of white or black priced at $299, which is $50 less than the original. Look for it to land in stores and arrive to customers on February 3.

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