Apple today released HomePod mini, a $99 smart speaker that brings the hands-free voice intelligence of Siri into a miniature wireless speaker at a more affordable price. At just 3.3-inches tall, HomePod mini is about half the height of the regular HomePod which stand 6.8-inches tall which now sells for $299. So for a third of the price, customers can experience Apple’s voice services, while enjoying better interactivity between Apple devices than either Amazon’s Echo line or Google can offer. The main sacrifice over of the bigger HomePod is sound quality.
“HomePod mini is the ultimate smart speaker for anyone with an Apple device. It works effortlessly with iPhone to hand off music, answer calls, or deliver personalized listening suggestions, elevates the sound from Apple TV, plays music from a Mac, and so much more. There’s a lot of Apple innovation packed into such a small speaker, all at an affordable price.”Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing
HomePod mini delivers an incredibly rich and detailed acoustic experience, using computational audio to deliver peak performance. To achieve big sound out of such a compact design, the Apple S5 chip in HomePod mini works with advanced software to analyze the unique characteristics of the music and apply complex tuning models to optimize loudness, adjust the dynamic range, and control the movement of the driver and passive radiators in real time. The Apple-engineered full-range driver, powered by a neodymium magnet and a pair of force-cancelling passive radiators, enables deep bass and crisp high frequencies.
Applying the same acoustic principles used to deliver amazing sound in HomePod, HomePod mini features an Apple-designed acoustic waveguide to direct the flow of sound down and out toward the bottom of the speaker for an immersive 360-degree audio experience. This allows customers to place HomePod mini almost anywhere in a room and hear consistent sound. A three-microphone array listens for “Hey Siri,” and a fourth inward-facing microphone helps isolate sound coming from the speaker to improve voice detection when music is playing. Although it’s worth noting, the regular HomePod has six microphones, which should be able handle far-field voice commands a little better.
With the intelligence of Siri, HomePod mini delivers a personalized and deeply integrated experience for iPhone customers. Siri can identify who is speaking and tailor music and podcasts to their preferences, and respond to personal requests, like accessing messages, reminders, notes, and calendar appointments, or making and answering phone calls.1 Siri also offers users a personal update for a quick snapshot of their day. With a single request, users can ask Siri “What’s my update?” to hear the latest news, weather, traffic, reminders, and calendar appointments.
HomePod mini works effortlessly with Apple devices, making it easy to pick up an incoming call, listen to music on the Mac, or upgrade the TV experience by taking the sound from Apple TV to the next level. When listening to music on iPhone, customers can simply bring their device close to HomePod mini and seamlessly hand off the music without missing a beat. And later this year, the experience gets even better with visual, audible, and haptic effects when sound transfers from one device to the other.2 Personalized listening suggestions will also automatically appear on iPhone when it is next to HomePod mini, and instant controls are available without having to unlock iPhone.2
HomePod mini is compatible with iPhone SE, iPhone 6s or later, or iPod touch (7th generation) running iOS 14; or iPad Pro, iPad (5th generation or later), iPad Air 2 or later, or iPad mini 4 or later running iPadOS 14.
Smart Home Controls
HomePod mini makes controlling smart home accessories easier than ever with simple voice commands for Siri to turn off the lights, change the temperature, lock the doors, or set a scene. HomePod mini is the perfect home hub, providing access to smart home accessories while at home or away.
New Intercom System
A new Intercom feature offers a quick and easy way for family members to connect with each other at home. One person can send an Intercom message from one HomePod to another — whether in a different room, a specific zone, or multiple rooms throughout the home — and their voice will automatically play on the designated HomePod speaker. Intercom 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 or on their way home.
Privacy and Security
Apple claims security and privacy are fundamental to the design of their 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, and personal information is not sold to advertisers or other organizations. HomePod mini works with iPhone to complete requests for messages and notes on device without revealing that information to Apple.
- Siri Shortcuts created on iPhone and iPad are accessible on HomePod mini, so users can ask Siri on HomePod mini to start a pot of coffee, control a robot vacuum, add milk to the grocery list, and more.
- Ambient sounds, including rain, a fireplace, a stream, and more, offer the perfect background noise to focus, relax, or fall asleep. Siri can set a sleep timer so the sounds automatically stop playing.
- Find My helps locate a misplaced iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or Apple Watch by playing a sound to pinpoint its location.
- Web search results from HomePod mini can be sent directly to the user’s iPhone for easy viewing.
- Music alarms let users wake up to a favorite song, playlist, or radio station from Apple Music.
Pricing & Availability
HomePod mini will be available in white and space gray for $99 (US) from apple.com, in the Apple Store app, and Apple Store locations. HomePod mini is also available through Apple Authorized Resellers and select carriers (prices may vary) beginning today (November 16, 2020) in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Spain, the UK, and the US .