Apple has done something some hoped would happen, and some thought would never happen – bring back the HomePod. After being officially discontinued nearly two years ago, back in March of 2021, the company has now introduced an all-new HomePod, that features an S7 chip (also found in the series 7 Apple Watch), with preorders starting today, followed by shipping on February 3rd in a few territories, which include the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, China, and Japan, amongst others, with pricing for the US at US$299.00.
The original HomePod came with a woofer and seven tweeters, whereas the newer model has cut this down to just five tweeters, and the woofer, but adds a few extras to the mix that will definitely appeal to smart home fans.
First off, as expected, the new HomePod will be a fully functional Matter controller that also adds a Thread Border Router to its internals, which now brings it in line with the HomePod Mini and later versions of the Apple TV4K – specifically the 2021 model, and the 128gb 2022 model.
The HomePod still comes in just the two colourways, with White and the new ‘Midnight’ instead of black or ‘Space Grey’. It also adds a built-in temperature and humidity sensor, which is also listed as being available on the HomePod Mini, although whether this is exposed to HomeKit or exclusive to Siri, we’re not sure. Additionally, the new HomePod has sound recognition, that can detect alarm sounds from smoke and carbon monoxide sensors, with the HomePod then alerting you via (we assume) Critical Alerts on your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. The sound recognition feature will be activated by a future update.
It’s great to see the HomePod make a return, even if the price point doesn’t seem to have budged a lot from the last discounted price of the previous generation.