The Apple HomePod is back, with new smarts and a lower price | Digital Trends


Apple has launched a second generation of its HomePod, for $299, with a similar design to the original HomePod, which the company discontinued in 2021. Simply called the second-gen HomePod, the smart speaker offers improved audio quality and deeper integration into the smart home. It’s available to order online and in the Apple Store app starting today, with availability beginning Friday, February 3.

In many ways, the second-gen looks exactly the same as the original HomePod. Apple has kept the distinctive rounded shape, the fabric-wrapped exterior, and the instantly recognizable touch area on top, complete with a colorful feedback display.

The general layout of the internal drivers remains the same too, with a large, high-excursion 20mm woofer mounted centrally, and an array of tweeters positioned around the speaker’s waistline. But now, instead of seven tweeters, Apple is only using five of the drivers, which may help explain the second-gen’s lower starting price. A new S7 chip replaces the previous A8 while software and “system-sensing technology” deliver the computational audio that was the centerpiece of the first version.

As before, the new version includes room-sensing technology so that the speaker can self-calibrate for various scenarios like proximity to walls and corners.

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