Apple HomePod (2nd Technology) Overview: Higher Sound, Extra Options, Decrease Value

Greater than half a decade (aka an eternity by shopper tech requirements) after the unique Apple HomePod debuted, the second technology has lastly arrived. Apple showcased its first-ever sensible speaker throughout WWDC in 2017, and the product hit the cabinets in early 2018 with best-in-class sound, Siri, HomeKit integration, and a hefty price ticket. A smaller and less expensive HomePod mini adopted in late 2020, only a few months earlier than its bigger sibling was formally discontinued.

Two years later, the HomePod sequel is right here with the identical immediately recognizable design (solely a fraction of an inch shorter than the unique), revamped {hardware} for higher audio efficiency, and improved linked residence capabilities. The newcomer’s $299 sticker is $50 decrease than its predecessor’s at launch, although nonetheless excessive by at present’s sensible speaker requirements.

Apple HomePod (2nd Technology)

Apple HomePod (2nd Technology)

Key Specs

Sound 4-inch woofer, 5 tweeters, 4 built-in microphones
Connectivity AirPlay 2, Apple HomeKit, Matter and Thread assist
Different Apple S7 chip, built-in temperature and humidity sensors

I’ve examined the brand new HomePod for every week, and it’s nothing in need of wonderful. By addressing the shortcomings of the earlier iteration, increasing its on a regular basis usability, and decreasing its value, Apple made the follow-up well worth the lengthy wait and appreciable price. Right here’s why:

Incredible Audio High quality

The audio high quality of the HomePod is phenomenal and, like that of the earlier model, an business benchmark. Outfitted with 5 tweeters and an enormous high-excursion woofer, the speaker delivers a wealthy, immersive, and infinitely pleasant sound throughout the audible frequency vary. Whatever the content material — from classical to vocal jazz to beats-infused trip-hop tracks, the speaker produced a vibrant treble, a harmonious midrange, and powerful-yet-accurate bass.

apple homepod 2nd generation sitting on a counter with other decor items

Stefan Vazharov

Impressively, the brand new HomePod sounds higher than the unique regardless of packing fewer tweeters (5 vs. 7). I used to be significantly taken by the ability and accuracy of its bass, even at excessive quantity ranges. The primary-generation HomePod tended to change into boomy in such eventualities. The low-range supply of the sequel is noticeably extra contained, permitting the vocals and the instrumentals to shine with out skimping on energy and accuracy.

The acoustic prowess of the brand new HomePod is pushed by the Apple S7 chip — the identical that powers the Apple Watch Collection 7 — and an inner bass microphone — a pair of invisible however important {hardware} bits. The previous optimizes the acoustic efficiency of the speaker in real-time based mostly on its environment and the content material that’s enjoying. It’s based mostly on the A13 Bionic chip of the iPhone 11, so it’s generations (and years) forward of the Apple A8 chip inside the unique HomePod.

However, the interior bass microphone retains tabs on and calibrates the lows for constantly wonderful output. For comparability, the bass supply of the unique HomePod, whereas undeniably entertaining, didn’t match the constancy and precision of its successor.

Connecting a duo of HomePods in a stereo pair leads to a wide ranging sonic expertise. The facility and ranges of element such an association delivers can outperform audio programs that price extra and are nowhere close to as space-efficient and straightforward to arrange.

apple homepod black and white model sitting next to each other on a counter

Stefan Vazharov

Two HomePods, in tandem with the newest Apple TV 4K streaming participant, can even output residence theater sound, together with Dolby Atmos-enhanced content material. Throughout my testing, I changed a top-shelf soundbar and appreciated the sonic expertise loads — the degrees of immersion introduced by the double-digit quantity of audio drivers between the 2 Apple audio system have been on one other stage.

The HomePod’s residence theater capabilities don’t finish by connecting it to an Apple TV 4K. As soon as linked to the media participant, the speaker will work with different {hardware} that makes use of the identical TV (e.g., cable field, online game console, and so forth.).

The quartet of microphones onboard the brand new HomePod carried out in keeping with my excessive expectations. The speaker picked up all my “Hey, Siri” voice instructions, even when the music was blaring at excessive quantity ranges. It carried out admirably throughout calls, too.

A Linked Residence Powerhouse

The HomePod has at all times been a robust and safe sensible residence hub, and the newest one isn’t any exception. The speaker can hyperlink to and management numerous HomeKit residence equipment, together with linked plugs, sensible locks, and safety cameras, amongst many others. Organising and managing these devices is fast and straightforward by way of the Residence app for iPhone and iPad — there’s no have to spend large, set up extra apps, or create accounts to get began.

apple homepod second generation with iphone showing the app

Stefan Vazharov

Assist for the Matter sensible residence normal is a brand new function that makes the brand new HomePod a futureproof purchase. The brand new protocol was developed by business giants, together with Apple, Amazon, Google, and Samsung, to call just a few, and appropriate merchandise started hitting the retail cabinets. The Matter ecosystem will solely develop within the months and years forward, so that you received’t be missing in sensible residence choices that may work with the HomePod.

By including temperature and humidity sensors, Apple made the brand new HomePod a mightier linked residence software. Along with maintaining tabs in your indoor local weather, the sensors can immediate residence automation routines. For instance, the HomePod will modify your sensible thermostat when the temperature reaches your chosen stage.

Sound detection is an upcoming HomePod function to stay up for. Set to reach within the coming months, the performance will permit the system to provide you with a warning about alarm noises whereas away from residence by way of notifications in your iPhone or iPad. You’ll be capable to hear it and verify if every thing is so as when you have a digicam.


The brand new HomePod is hands-down the most effective sensible speaker for Apple customers. Its distinctive sound high quality, ease of use, and huge sensible residence capabilities are price urgent the purchase button, particularly when you have already purchased into the Apple universe.

If you happen to already personal an Apple system like an iPhone or iPad however haven’t taken the connected-home leap but, the HomePod is the centerpiece to get if it matches your price range. Its acoustic excellence, along with the easy-to-access options it provides, will consistently remind you of cash effectively spent.

Think about the HomePod mini if the Apple sensible residence comfort is a precedence however you don’t wish to drop $300. For lower than $100, the smaller speaker will deliver related sensible residence performance, together with energetic temperature and humidity sensors (Apple enabled them by way of iOS 16.3), Matter assist, and upcoming sound detection.

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Senior Expertise Editor

Stefan is the senior know-how editor for , the place he’s been protecting the tech business and testing the newest devices since 2015. He has greater than a decade of expertise protecting shopper tech merchandise, particularly smartphones, tablets, laptops, and audio gear. He was beforehand the US editor for ; his work will also be discovered on In style Mechanics and different Hearst publications.Within the uncommon moments when he’s not enjoying with a brand new gadget, Stefan likes to look at stay Premier League video games or hang around along with his cat and rabbit. He’s additionally an espresso snob.