Apple resurrects its connected speaker

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Canceled by Apple in 2021 in favor of the “mini” version, the HomePod is finally entitled to a second generation. The connected speaker notably benefits from a new sound architecture.

The HomePod 2
The HomePod 2 // Source: Apple

The days go by and they are the same at Apple. The day after the announcement of its new MacBook Pro and Mac mini equipped with the new M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, the firm presented its second-generation connected speaker, the HomePod 2, on Wednesday.

If Apple had already presented a HomePod mini in October 2020, this new model actually replaces the first generation of Apple connected speakers, initially presented in June 2017. Therefore, it will have taken Apple more than five years to present this new version. Above all, given the weakness in sales, Apple had withdrawn the first HomePod from sale in March 2021 to focus specifically on its version. mini ».

The acoustic architecture of the HomePod 2
The acoustic architecture of the HomePod 2 // Source: Apple

It therefore seems that the large format of the connected speaker is up to date again for the Cupertino company. We are therefore facing a speaker 168 mm high and 142 mm wide with a circular shape, for a weight of 2.3 kg. For the audio part, the new HomePod 2 has five horn tweeters to reproduce treble in 360 degrees and a 4-inch woofer for bass. As in the first generation, Apple continues to reproduce its algorithm using microphones that will analyze the location of the speaker in the room to offer the best possible spatialization. Another microphone, placed inside the box, will analyze the bass to automatically adapt it. Note also that the speaker supports spatial audio via Dolby Atmos, a feature supported naturally by Apple Music.

A connected speaker with support for AirPlay, Matter and Bluetooth

Of course, the new second-generation HomePod is designed primarily for streaming thanks to its AirPlay and Wi-Fi compatibility, it also benefits from a UWB chip to detect nearby devices, as well as Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. It is also possible to call Siri directly with your voice thanks to the four microphones provided for this purpose. The speaker can also be paired with an Apple TV to use as a wireless speaker to enjoy sounds from the media box. In addition, the speaker is fully compatible with the new Matter protocol, also adopted by Google, Amazon, Samsung or Philips Hue. Like the mini version, the HomePod 2 integrates a temperature sensor and can therefore work together with connected thermostats.

The HomePod 2
The HomePod 2 // Source: Apple

In the aesthetic aspect, we find a shape similar to the first generation of HomePod with a mesh fabric around the entire enclosure. HomePod 2 also has a round touch surface on top, with various controls to pause music, skip to the next title, launch Siri, or change the volume.

The new HomePod 2 is available at a price of 349 euros in two colors: black or white. For comparison, the HomePod mini is now listed at €109, up from €99 at launch, while the first HomePod was listed at the same price of €349.

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