Apple has announced the second-generation HomePod, a successor to the full-size model that was discontinued without a clear replacement two years ago. The new HomePod has a $299 starting price, improved smart home features, temperature and humidity sensors, and more. The new HomePod is available to order today and will begin arriving on February 3.

New HomePod features and details

The design of the new HomePod is pretty similar to the previous-generation model. The big change is that the touch surface on the top of the HomePod now illuminates from edge-to-edge, similar to the HomePod mini.

The second-generation HomePod is available in two colors: white and midnight. The images make the midnight color look eerily similar to the previous space gray, but Apple swears it’s a “new color made with 100 percent recycled mesh fabric, with a color-matched woven power cable.”

In terms of specifications, the new HomePod has five tweeters, which is down from the seven tweeters in the original full-size HomePod. It’s powered by the S7 chip, compared to the A8 chip in the original HomePod and the S5 in the HomePod mini. The mic array has also dropped from six microphones down to four microphones.

Apple seems to think these changes won’t have an impact on sound quality:

HomePod delivers incredible audio quality, with rich, deep bass and stunning high frequencies. A custom-engineered high-excursion woofer, powerful motor that drives the diaphragm a remarkable 20mm, built-in bass-EQ mic, and beamforming array of five tweeters around the base all work together to achieve a powerful acoustic experience. The S7 chip is combined with software and system-sensing technology to offer even more advanced computational audio that maximizes the full potential of its acoustic system for a groundbreaking listening experience.

The new HomePod supports Sound Recognition, which is a feature also supported by other Apple devices. On HomePod, this feature can listen for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and send a notification directly to your iPhone if a sound is identified. This feature, however, won’t launch until the spring with a future software update.

Apple has also added a U1 chip to the full-size HomePod for the first time. The company says this chip is used for more advanced and reliable Handoff features when transferring music from your iPhone to your HomePod.

Furthermore, there’s a new “confirmation tone” for Siri when a “request is made to control an accessory that may not visibly show a change, like a heater, or for accessories located in a different room.”

For smart home fans, the new HomePod includes support for the latest Matter standard. “HomePod connects to and controls Matter-enabled accessories, and serves as an essential home hub, giving users access when away from home,” Apple explains. There’s also a built-in sensor for temperature and humidity.

You can find Apple’s full press release here. It’s available to order starting today, with orders arriving on February 3.

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About the Author

Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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