Yawn. Sorry. Were you expecting something far more groundbreaking in regard to the new Apple HomePod mini? Us too.
The home integration and Siri aspects are definitely interesting; especially if you own the latest generation of the iPhone, but Apple’s claims of “deep bass” and “sparkling highs” are a lot harder to get excited about.
We have two incoming for review (we ordered them as a Chanukah gift) so we will reserve judgment on the sound quality until sometime in November, but it will be interesting to see how they compare to the Sonos One SL and Bluesound Pulse FLEX 2i.
So what has Apple done with the new HomePod mini? By the looks of things, it’s the same HomePod mini from 2020, but with updated color choices.
Apple today introduced HomePod mini in three bold new colors — yellow, orange, and blue — giving users more ways to express their personality and style in any space.
At just 3.3 inches tall, HomePod mini offers a great music-listening experience, the intelligence of Siri, and smart home capabilities, with privacy and security built in. Its seamless integration across Apple’s products and services make HomePod mini the ultimate smart speaker for anyone with an Apple device.
HomePod mini will be available in these new colors, along with white and space gray, with color-matched details throughout, including the tinted touch surface, mesh fabric, volume icons, and woven power cable, starting in November 2021 for just $99.
Big Sound in a Compact Speaker
HomePod mini uses computational audio to provide a rich and detailed acoustic experience and deliver peak performance. To achieve big sound out of such a compact design, the Apple S5 chip runs advanced software to analyze the unique characteristics of the music.
It also applies complex tuning models to optimize loudness, adjust the dynamic range, and control the movement of the driver and passive radiators, all in real time. HomePod mini’s full-range driver, premium neodymium magnet, and pair of force-cancelling passive radiators enable it to produce deep bass and crisp high frequencies.
An Apple-designed acoustic waveguide directs the flow of sound down and out the bottom of the speaker for an immersive 360-degree audio experience. This design not only preserves richness and clarity, but makes it easy to place HomePod mini anywhere in a room and enjoy amazing sound from every angle.
When placed in multiple rooms, HomePod mini speakers allow users to play the same music throughout the house, all in perfect sync, or a different song in every room.
Placing two HomePod mini speakers in the same room creates a stereo pair for an even more immersive experience when listening to music. A three-microphone array listens for “Hey Siri,” and a fourth inward-facing microphone helps cancel out sound coming from the speaker to improve Siri’s ability to hear voice requests when music is playing.
Apple Music Voice on HomePod mini
HomePod mini is designed to work with Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, thousands of radio stations including the award-winning Apple Music 1 station, and popular music services like Pandora, Deezer, and others, providing entertainment for everyone.
Apple Music offers more than 90 million songs, all curated by world-class experts and tastemakers; thousands of curated playlists, including hundreds created specifically for the Apple Music Voice Plan; and more than 25,000 exclusive radio episodes and other original content. With the introduction of this new subscription tier, even more people will have access to this incredible catalog, hands-free, just by asking Siri.
Ultimate Smart Speaker for iPhone Users
When listening to music or podcasts, or taking a phone call, users can seamlessly hand off the audio without missing a beat by bringing their iPhone close to HomePod mini.
The experience gets more magical with any U1-equipped iPhone — with visual, audible, and haptic effects that make it feel like the devices are physically connected as sound flows from one to another.
If nothing is playing on HomePod mini, personalized listening suggestions will automatically appear on iPhone when it is near the speaker, and instant controls are available without needing to unlock iPhone.
Smart Home Control
HomePod mini makes controlling smart home accessories effortless with simple voice commands for Siri to turn off the lights, change the temperature, lock the doors, set a scene, or control devices at specific times.
Users can also get hands-free help by talking directly to various smart home accessories enabled with Siri. By design, Siri-enabled accessories will relay requests through a user’s HomePod mini on the same network, providing the level of privacy customers expect from Apple.
Intercom gives people a quick and easy way to connect at home. Users can send an Intercom message from one HomePod mini to another — whether in a different room, a specific zone, or multiple rooms throughout the home — and their voice message will automatically play on the designated HomePod mini.
Intercom even works with iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, and CarPlay, so everyone in the household can get Intercom notifications and send Intercom messages from the backyard, on their way home, or while out and about.
Designed with Privacy and Security in Mind
Privacy and security are fundamental to the design of Apple hardware, software, and services. With HomePod mini, only after “Hey Siri” is recognized locally on the device, or the user activates Siri by touch, will any information be sent to Apple servers. Requests are not associated with the user’s Apple ID, nor is personal information used for Apple’s advertising purposes or sold to other organizations. HomePod mini works with iPhone to complete requests for messages and notes on the device without revealing that information to Apple.
- Expanded multi-user voice recognition: Starting later this year, Siri is expanding support for multi-user voice recognition to all regions where HomePod mini is available so everyone in the home can enjoy music tailored to their taste profile, access their own playlists, use Personal Requests, and more.
- Automatic Siri volume: Siri will also automatically adjust the speaking volume on HomePod mini based on the room environment and volume of the user.
- More diverse voice options for Siri: Siri now includes more diverse voice options for English speakers in the US, so users can choose the voice that speaks to them right from the start when they set up their device.
- Elevate sound on Apple TV 4K: Users can pair HomePod mini to Apple TV 4K for a powerful sound experience with great range and high fidelity. Using computational audio, HomePod mini constantly analyzes the audio and models the performance to deliver crystal clear dialogue.
- Apple TV controls: Together, Siri and HomePod mini power new ways for users to interact with Apple TV. For example, users can ask Siri to turn on Apple TV, start a show or movie, and control playback.
- Fun sounds: Ask Siri on HomePod mini what various animals, instruments, or vehicles sound like and Siri will play a fun, high-fidelity sound.
- New ways to control smart home devices: Siri can control smart home accessories at specific times, so Siri can turn off the lights in 10 minutes or turn on the porch lights at sunset.
- Find My: Ask Siri on HomePod mini to help locate a misplaced iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple Watch, or AirTag by playing a sound to pinpoint its location.
Pricing & Availability
HomePod mini will be available in yellow, orange, and blue, in addition to white and space gray, for $99 (US) from apple.com/store, in the Apple Store app, and at Apple Store locations. HomePod mini will also be available through Apple Authorized Resellers and select carriers (prices may vary).
Customers in Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, the UK, and the US can purchase HomePod mini in November.
HomePod mini is compatible with iPhone SE, iPhone 6s or later, or iPod touch (7th generation) running iOS 15; iPad Pro, iPad (5th generation or later), iPad Air 2 or later; or iPad mini 4 or later running iPadOS 15.