Apple reveals why it brought back the HomePod

Apple HomePod 2
(Image credit: Apple)

When Apple originally announced that it was releasing a second generation of the HomePod, everyone's second reaction after being excited was...why? The company had just discontinued the speaker a couple of years ago, so what changed?

In an interview with Men's Journal, Alice Chan, Product Marketing, revealed why Apple decided to bring back its larger smart speaker. According to Chan, "we’ve heard more interest than ever for the acoustics of a richer larger speaker.” 

Matthew Costello, Apple’s vice president, Hardware Engineering and Operations, sat down with TechCrunch to talk about some of the decisions made with the new HomePod. If you're wondering why the new HomePod looks a lot like the old HomePod, Costello has an answer, explaining that "our teams really, really love this direction, in terms of the shape and the form. And we were able to create a wonderful system within that structure.”

One of the odd decisions with the new HomePod is that it comes with Wi-Fi 4 connectivity. In 2023, with Wi-Fi 6 showing up in Apple's other new devices, people were confused to see such an old connectivity standard show up in the new speaker. Costello has an answer for that too, saying that “HomePod features Wi-Fi 4 connectivity that allows us to target exactly what works best in the entire system, making sure Siri requests are responsive, and ensuring a consistent experience for all you are listening to, controlling your smart home accessories and more — all while being energy efficient.”

Some original HomePod owners were disappointed to hear that the new HomePod will not be able to be stereo-paired to the 1st generation. According to Costello, "it’s important that the audio characteristics match for an optimal, balanced experience. The new HomePod delivers immersive, room-filling sound users love — with even more detail, clarity and layers than the original HomePod — so we wanted the acoustical imaging to be as pure and consistent as possible from generation to generation."

The new HomePod launches on Friday

The new HomePod is the second generation of Apple's large smart speaker. The new generation packs a new chip, a new speaker and microphone system, and some new connectivity features like support for Matter. It will be the new sibling to Apple's HomePod mini, its tiny but mighty smart speaker.

The new HomePod will officially release on Friday, February 3rd. If you're still looking to preorder, check out our coverage on Where to preorder the new HomePod 2 (2023).

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.