Thursday, 19 January 2023 11:32

Apple announces new HomePod with breakthrough sound and intelligence Featured

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A new Homepod, the 2nd generation, is out, and available from Friday 3 February. The original HomePod was released five years ago and the new generation comes with a raft of innovations made over that period.

The 2nd generation Apple HomePod brings a new level of acoustic capability with advanced computational audio, support for spatial audio, and enhanced Siri features. It even includes temperature and humidity checks and can work with smoke or carbon monoxide alarm sensors.

The new HomePod (2nd generation) is available to order for $479 and is compatible with iPhone SE (2nd generation) and later, or iPhone 8 and later running iOS 16.3 or later, or iPad Pro, iPad (5th generation) and later, iPad Air (3rd generation) and later, or iPad mini (5th generation) and later running iPadOS 16.3.

The new Homepod comes with an acoustically transparent mesh fabric and a backlit touch surface that illuminates from edge to edge. It has a custom-engineered high-excursion woofer, a built-in bass-EQ microphone, and a beamforming array of five tweeters around the base to achieve a powerful acoustic experience. It is driven by the Apple S7 chip.

With room-sensing technology, the HomePod recognises sound reflections from nearby surfaces and thus can determine if it is against a wall or freestanding and adapt the sound in real time.

When combined with other HomePods, it can provide a superb stereo experience. It can also play over 100 million songs from Apple Music, and act as a home theatre with your Apple TV 4K.

If you have other Apple products you can hand off whatever you're playing on your iPhone, whether a song, podcast or even a phone call, directly to the HomePod. It allows you to control what's playing on your Apple TV by voice, find your iPhones, and even listen for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Additionally, with new built-in temperature and humidity sensing, you can create automation to open or close blinds, turn on or off fans, and so on, if you have other smart devices in your home. In fact, the HomePod now has Matter support so your HomePod will connect to and control Matter-enabled accessories, and act as a hub giving you control when away from home.

Here's a summary of what's changed between the original HomePod and the 2nd generation HomePod:

  • Temperature and humidity sensors

  • Thread/Matter

  • Ultra Wideband Chip for spacial awareness

  • Larger screen

  • 5 tweeters (down from 7)

  • 4 mics (down from 6)

  • 4mm (0.16") shorter

  • 0.15 kg (0.34 lbs) lighter

  • 32 GB storage (up from 16 GB)

  • S7 (up from A8)

  • 7 nm (down from 20 nm)

  • 1.8 GHz (up from 1.4 GHz)

  • Neodymium magnets (instead of ferrite)

  • New “system sensor” that works in conjunction with the S7 chip to optimise audio output (instead of a low-frequency microphone for real-time woofer calibration)

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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