Apple unveiled its brand new HomePod (2nd generation) on January 18, 2023. It looks just like the original HomePod from 2017 but boasts a few handy new features under the hood and a more agreeable $299 price tag. That includes support for Spatial Audio, and smart home features including a home temperature sensor, humidity sensor, and automation that can detect a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm and alert your iPhone. It also features the S7 chip.
HomePod 2 (2023): Design
The new HomePod is identical in design to the old one. That means it is 6.8 inches high and 5.6 inches wide with a circular base. It weights 5.16 pounds, but that shouldn't matter too much given this is not a portable device.
HomePod 2 (2023): Audio
The new HomePod has a 4-inch high-excursion woofer and five horn-loaded tweeters, each with its own neodymium magnet. Like the old one it has a microphone to correct bass and real-time tuning, as well as room sensing to adjust the sound based on its surroundings.
The new HomePod features Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos for music and video, as well as a four-microphone design for picking up Siri requests from a distance.
It also supports multiroom AirPlay and stereo pairing, just like the old one. Interestingly, the new HomePod has fewer speakers and microphones than the old one, making it slightly lighter too.
HomePod 2 (2023): Content and audio sources
The 2023 HomePod can play content from Apple Music, and third-party services like Spotify via AirPlay. But only Apple Music will work through Siri. It can also play music from iTunes and iCloud Music Library, as well as Apple Music Radio. It can tune in to some radio stations like TuneIn and iHeartRadio.
It also supports Apple Podcasts and news briefings, as well as AirPlay from any other Apple device.
HomePod 2 (2023): Connectivity and Matter support
The new homePod features Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, as well as support for Thread. One big new connectivity upgrade is Ultra Wideband, which will let you hand off music from your phone like you can with the HomePod mini.
It also supports Thread, a newer low-energy smart home connectivity technology for use with things like smart lights. Thanks to this, it also supports Matter, the new name in smart home connectivity standards.
HomePod 2 (2023): Smart home features
The new HomePod features a couple of cool new smart home features. It can listen for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and send an alert directly to your iPhone if the sound is identified.
It also features a new built-in temperature and humidity sensor, which can measure your home and interact with automations that close blinds or turn on fans automatically. You can, of course, use your HomePod with Siri to control all of your Apple Home and Matter-enabled devices.
HomePod 2 (2023): Price and release date
The new HomePod 2 is $299 from Apple, it's available for pre-order right now and its release date is February 3, which is when deliveries will start to arrive and it will appear in stores.
HomePod 2 (2023): What we still don't know
So we learned a lot in the Press release about the new HomePod 2. But there are still a couple of things that we'd love to know about, chief of which being sound profile. The old HomePod not only went very loud, but it had bone-shaking amounts of bass. For some music, this was fantastic, but for others, it was just a little too much. There was an option to get rid of some of this bass, but if you engaged the toggle then it nuked the lower midrange response.
It was, in essence, all or nothing. It will be interesting to see if there's any difference to the sound profile in the new model - especially when you consider there are fewer drivers in the new one.
Twitter use Joe Rossignol points out that the old model had 7 tweeters, while the new model only has five. What will this mean for the sound? Will it sound better, will it sound the same, or will we pay $50 less for sound that's not as good?
It's not just the drivers that have been reduced, there's also the matter of the reduced number of microphones within the HomePod. The old HomePod had 6 microphones, while the new one only has 4. The old HomePod was amazing at finding your voice in a loud or busy room, but with two fewer microphones, will the new one be anywhere near as good? It will be interesting to see.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9
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