a photo of Apple HomePod 2nd Gen Smart Speakers

What You Need to Know about Apple HomePod (2nd Gen) Smart Speaker

Here are all the important facts and features on what you need to know about Apple HomePod (2nd Gen) Smart Speaker which was just released.

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Over the past few years, Apple users have been buying the HomePod Mini smart speakers because there haven’t been any updates for HomePod. In fact, in March 2021, Apple made an announcement they were discontinuing the original HomePod so it could shift resources to grow the HomePod Mini which is a lot more affordable than the original HomePod ($349). As of January 2023, that all changes with Apple’s announcement to bring back the 2nd generation HomePod smart speaker. And in this article, we will show what you need to know before buying this new Apple smart speaker.

What is the Apple HomePod 2nd Gen Smart Speaker?

a photo of top of Apple HomePod 2nd Gen Smart SpeakerApple HomePod 2nd Gen Smart Speaker comes with updated speakers and new Siri intelligence Apple

Apple’s 2nd Gen HomePod is a smart speaker with updated speakers, Siri intelligence, and Apple innovations. It features new high-end woofers, and a beamforming array of five tweeters to provide an immersive sound. It also has room sensing technology which allows the speaker to sense its surroundings and directionally calibrate the sound for the ideal acoustic experience for users.

Besides the room-sensing technology, the new Apple smart speaker also comes with spatial audio which will come in handy when you pair two HomePods for stereo sound. The new HomePods work together with the spatial audio to bring a theatre-like sound to your room, resulting in an immersive sound experience that is not normally found in smart speakers. This comes in handy when you want to elevate your sound experience by using AirPlay2 for multiroom audio or using smart speakers as an intercom system in your home. But one of my favorite new features of the HomePod is the “hand-off”. This is when a user leverages the HomePod’s Ultra Wideband technology to hand off the music playing or a phone call on their iPhone to the HomePod. All you have to do is wave the iPhone over the smart speaker, which will transfer what is on your iPhone to the speaker. Note: this handoff feature requires a U1-equipped iPhone running iOS 16.2 or later.)

A photo of iPhone transferring music to HomePod 2nd GenApple HomePod Gen 2 smart speaker allows you to handoff from your iPhoneApple

“Leveraging our audio expertise and innovations, the new HomePod delivers rich, deep bass, natural mid-range, and clear, detailed highs,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With the popularity of HomePod mini, we’ve seen growing interest in even more powerful acoustics achievable in a larger HomePod. We’re thrilled to bring the next generation of HomePod to customers worldwide.”

Besides the ultimate home audio experience, HomePod 2nd Gen is also a smart home hub with privacy and security features built-in. If you are an Apple user, you know Apple HomeKit is the ecosystem used to help power your smart home. The new Apple smart speaker has Apple HomeKit built-in. Any smart device compatible with Apple HomeKit can be controlled using Siri voice commands. You can also activate scenes and schedules for any automation you want in your home. But a new feature is Sound Recognition. The speaker can listen for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and send notifications directly to your iPhone when they are activated.

Pre-order Apple HomePod 2nd Gen Smart Speaker

How does HomePod connect to the Internet?

The new HomePod connects to your home Wi-Fi network using three types of wireless connections, Bluetooth 5.0, Thread, and Wi-Fi 802.11n connection. It will also support the Matter wireless standard. In case you haven’t heard of Matter, it is a new wireless protocol started by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) which Apple is a member of. The new standard is designed to enable smart home devices to work across multiple ecosystems, like Z-Wave or Wi-Fi.

a photo of Apple HomePod 2nd Gen with smartphone showing Apple HomeKit appApple HomePod 2nd Gen smart speaker works with Apple HomeKit appApple

How much does HomePod 2nd Gen cost and when is it available?

The new Apple HomePod 2nd Gen smart speaker comes in Midnight (Gray) and White and has a list price of $299. It is available on February 3. 2023 but you can pre-order the new smart speaker on the Apple site today.

Pre-order Apple HomePod 2nd Gen Smart Speaker

What’s the difference between HomePod Gen 1 and HomePod Gen2?

Although we haven’t been able to test the HomePod Gen 2 yet, we were able to compare the specs of the two smart speakers. And after looking over the data, here is what we found:

  • HomePod 2nd Gen is slightly shorter: Gen 2 speaker measures 6.6” high and 5.6” wide while the Gen 1 speaker is 6.8” tall and 5.6” wide.
  • HomePod 2nd Gen is lighter: HomePod Gen 2 weighs 5.16 pounds while the Gen 1 smart speaker is 5.5 pounds.
  • HomePod Gen 2 has more connectivity options: HomePod Gen 1 and Gen 2 both work on Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi connections, Gen 2 speaker also connects to Thread and Matter wireless protocols.
  • HomePod 2nd Gen. has Sound Recognition and Gen 1 did not.
  • HomePod 2nd Gen has updated tweeters, and woofers and is made with more recycled products.
  • Both speakers protect customer privacy – all of Apple’s smart home communications use end-to-end encrypted technology. Whether you are using Siri voice commands or recording videos, no data is stored by Apple.

Overall, the new Apple HomePod 2nd Gen smart speaker is a welcome smart device for the Apple community and anyone in the market for a smart speaker that offers a high-quality sound experience. If you remember when smart speakers came to market about 5-6 years ago, the speakers were designed for two-way communication and not necessarily for movie watching or providing immersive sound experiences. But as times have changed, so have smart speakers. And today, with the Apple HomePod 2nd Gen, which reminds us of a premium Sonos speaker, we have seen the smart speaker evolve into more than just a smart device you ask to do certain routines or ask for information. It’s a device that can run your smart home, act as an intercom or if needed provide surround sound on movie nights.

In the coming weeks, GearBrain will be testing the new Apple HomePod 2nd Gen. So, be on the lookout for our review. And if you need help finding compatible smart devices that work with your existing smart devices or systems in your home, including Apple HomeKit-enabled devices, check out our compatibility find engine. It will help you find, buy and connect any smart device. And you can store vital product info (like owner’s manuals and warranties) for free.

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