HomePod 2 vs HomePod: What's the difference and should you upgrade?

This first HomePod was released in 2018 and surprisingly retired three years later without a replacement. (No, the HomePod mini doesn't count.) Fast forward to early 2023, when Apple finally, at last, has announced the HomePod 2. Featuring a fresh new design and internals, Apple's new 2nd-geneartion HomePod is available in white -- and midnight for the first time.

It isn't easy to find a new HomePod to purchase. Therefore, this comparison primarily focuses on the advances Apple has brought to the table with HomePod 2. As you'll see, the changes are substantial both in its design and feature set. 

HomePod 2 vs HomePod: What are the differences?

It will take a full review to determine whether the HomePod 2 sounds better than the HomePod. It should, given its technical advances on the inside. We already know that the HomePod 2 packs many more features than the original. These include all-new sound recognition, sensors for temperature and humidity, support for the Matter smarthome standard, and more. 

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SpecsHomePod 2HomePod
ColorsWhite and MidnightWhite and Space Gray
Weight5.16 Ibs5.5 lbs
Audio4-inch high-excursion woofer Array of five horn-loaded tweeters, each tweeter with its own neodymium magnet, Array of five horn-loaded tweeters, each tweeter with its own neodymium magnetHigh-excursion woofer with custom amplifier, Array of seven horn-loaded tweeters, each with its own custom amplifier
MicrophoneInternal low-frequency calibration microphone for automatic bass correctionInternal low-frequency calibration microphone for automatic bass correction
StereoStereo pair capableStereo pair capable
Spatial AudioYesYes (with software update)
Wi-Fi802.11n Wi-Fi802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO
Smart Home HubYesYes
Touch ControlsYesYes
Sound RecognitionYesNo
Sensors for temperature and humidity.YesNo
Matter supportYesNo

At the heart of the HomePod 2 is a "high excursion" woofer that Apple promises packs deep, rich bass. In addition, it offers a 20mm diaphragm with its bass EQ mic that is dynamically able to tune low frequencies in real-time.

As Apple exclaims: "Superclean bass. Fills the room. Boom."

To hit the high notes, the HomePod 2 includes an array of five beamforming tweeters around its base. Each tweeter is optimized at high frequencies to produce detailed, articulate audio with terrific clarity. Sound is even better thanks to advanced computational audio with system sensing, a four-microphone design for far-field Siri, and Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos for music and video.

Like its predecessor, the HomePod 2 also includes stereo pairing. You'll need to do that with another HomePod 2, however: You can't stereo pair the HomePod 2 with an original HomePod or a HomePod mini.

Other impressive features include advanced computation audio with system sensing, multiroom audio with AirPlay, and advanced audio controls. 

New on the HomePod 2 are two new sensors, one for sound recognition and the other for temperature and humidity. The former won't launch until a software update arrives later in the year. It's designed to detect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm sounds and send notifications. The other will keep track of indoor conditions. 

HomePod 2 vs HomePod: Should you upgrade?

It remains to be seen whether current HomePod owners should upgrade to the HomePod 2. On the one hand, the newer model offers new features that almost certainly include better sound than produced on the older model. On the other hand, if you're a stereo user, plan to buy at least two new HomePods to get the job done since you can't pair old and new.

The new HomePod is certainly cheaper than the first generation model, which came out at $350 -- a lot of money for a speaker, even if it was an Apple designed smart speaker. The new one is $50 less, but where are these savings even coming from?

The bottom line is that a future iMore review will tell us much more about the HomePod 2  than we know right now. Regardless, they all work with the best iPhones and other Apple devices. 

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.