Right on cue, the Apple Store is down today ahead of new iPhone and HomePod mini preorders.

The store will be back up at about 5 AM PT, so if you are waiting to order a new HomePod mini or the iPhone 12 mini, or the iPhone 12 Pro Max, you’ve got a few more hours to wait.

Last night, Apple allowed a few publications to post their hands-on with the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max, with both ends of the spectrum offering the smallest and largest flagship phones Apple has made to date.

The iPhone 12 mini features a 5.4-inch OLED screen. Thanks to the minimal bezel, the overall device is barely larger than a 4.7-inch iPhone 7. It sports a dual rear camera system, aluminium sides, and is powered by the speedy A14 chip. The model starts at $729 unlocked with 64 GB storage.

The $1099 iPhone 12 Pro Max is roughly comparable to the iPhone 11 Pro Max in physical size, but now boasts an even larger 6.7-inch display. The Max also features Apple’s best camera system with a wider aperture sensor that can take in up to 87% more light, which should result in noticeably less noise especially at night … although we’ll have to wait for full reviews to be published to know exactly how much difference it makes in practice.

Like all iPhone 12 models, the Mini and the Max can connect to high-speed 5G cellular networks. The US models support mmWave ultra-wide band connectivity with typical download speeds exceeding 1 gigabit, if you happen to be in close proximity to a UWB cell tower.

The HomePod mini is Apple’s latest effort to crack the smart home market, with a much more affordable offering compared to the $299 premium sound HomePod. For $99, Apple says the mini HomePod will provide room-filling sound but it lacks any of the spatial awareness features that the original HomePod pioneered, and the unit only features one internal speaker. You still can use two HomePod minis together in a stereo pair, or dot them throughout your home and take advantage of synchronized multi-room audio. We’ll have to wait for people to get their hands-on with the HomePod mini to know exactly how good it sounds.

With the Mini, Apple has focused more on the personal assistant aspect of smart speakers, introducing new features like a daily update briefing and Intercom mode. The Mini can act as a HomeKit home hub and let you control all of your smart HomeKit devices with your voice. The $99 Mini is much more competitive with the lower end of the smart speaker market, where Amazon Echo and Google Home dominate.

Let us know what you are ordering today in the comments. And stay tuned to 9to5Mac next week for full coverage of Apple’s November “One more thing” event, in which the company is expected to launch its first Apple Silicon powered ARM Macs.

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