Apple, in addition to the new iPhones, has also introduced a new smart speaker, HomePod mini, which will complement its HomePod line. It not only provides high quality sound, but also supports the functions of the voice assistant Siri, and can also be used as a base unit for controlling smart home devices. The manufacturer notes that the latest technology and advanced software were used to create the HomePod mini with a height of just over eight centimeters. And thanks to the use of procedural audio, it delivers high quality sound no matter where you put it. HomePod mini in two colors – white and space gray – will be sold in the US for $ 99.
The HomePod mini speaker allows you to play music from Apple Music, podcasts and radio stations iHeartRadio, radio.com and TuneIn. In the coming months, it will also start supporting other popular music services such as Pandora and Amazon Music. Multiple HomePod mini speakers sync with each other and let you listen to music or podcasts in different rooms at the same time. And if you put two HomePod mini speakers in the same room, they form a stereo pair.
The touch-sensitive surface on the top of the HomePod mini lets you turn music on and off, scroll through tracks, adjust the volume, and access the Siri voice assistant.
A specially designed acoustic waveguide by Apple directs sound to the bottom of the speaker and to the sides for immersive sound that travels 360 degrees. The microphone array, consisting of three microphones, recognizes the commands “Hey Siri”, and the fourth microphone, directed inside the speaker, allows you to separate the sound coming from the speaker itself, making speech stand out from the general sound background.
The novelty interacts with iPhone users, taking into account their individual characteristics and the specifics of the situation. Siri can determine who is issuing a command – and then select music and podcasts based on the tastes of that person, respond to requests using access to a user’s account (for example, to messages, reminders, notes or events in the Calendar), and help make phone calls and answer calls. In addition, Siri can provide the user with summary information for the day.
If the user is listening to music on the iPhone, just bring it to the HomePod mini, and playback will continue on the speaker. Visual, audio and tactile effects will be added later this year to accompany audio switching from one device to another. Personalized recommendations from the speaker will also appear on the iPhone if it is next to the HomePod mini, and along with them, controls will appear on the screen that you can use without having to resort to unlocking the iPhone.
The new Intercom feature allows all family members to communicate with each other when they are at home. A person can transmit a message via Intercom to another room or zone, or to several rooms at once – and his voice will be automatically played on the corresponding HomePod speaker. Intercom is supported on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, and CarPlay, so everyone in the house can receive messages and send them even away from home.