The Apple HomePod 2 has landed now, for anyone who needs a powerful smart speaker for the iPhone. But Apple’s new wireless wonder also helped provide some treats to its smaller brother; the HomePod mini.
Due to an upcoming software update, HomePod mini (opens in a new tab) It will see some hitherto untapped smart home talents unlocked. One of the biggest new features of the Apple HomePod 2 is some built-in temperature and humidity sensors, which the company says can prompt a speaker to automatically close the blinds or turn on a smart fan.
But in Apple’s official HomePod comparison page (opens in a new tab), the HomePod mini is also listed as having the exact same sensors, though they were never officially advertised as a feature. That’s about to change thanks to an upcoming software update from Apple.
One iFixit teardown (opens in a new tab) Researchers at the Homepod mini have revealed that the speaker is indeed equipped with sensors made by Texas Instruments to measure humidity and temperature.as Bloomberg reports (opens in a new tab) In 2021, the smart home potential of speakers has never been tapped — until now.
Since the HomePod 2 offers exactly the same features Apple discussed internally when it launched its little brother, Apple will now update the Homepod mini to work with its new wireless speaker.
While the HomePod 2 still has some of the same musical inflexibility as its predecessor, including the lack of an audio streaming option for Android phones, Apple has been touting its smart home potential. These new sensors let you check the temperature and humidity in a room, but an even more compelling potential is using them to automate every aspect of your smart home.
It’s unclear if the software update will be released as part of the iOS 16.3 release rumored to be coming next week (opens in a new tab)but Homepod mini owners won’t have to wait long to try out the new feature.
Analysis: Rebuilding the Smart Home
Apple’s support for the new Matter standard shows that it’s once again pushing for a truly compelling smart home experience, rather than a frustratingly fragmented one. Its two smart speakers, the HomePod 2 and HomePod mini, are a key part of that plan.
The good news for HomePod mini owners is that even though the speaker launched two years ago, it’s been hiding some smart home talent that’s about to be unlocked. Apple’s iOS 16 has Matter built in, so you can already use the HomePod mini as a Matter smart home controller.
These temperature and humidity sensors will finally get some use thanks to the arrival of the HomePod 2. Currently suggested use cases, such as creating automation for fans or blinds, aren’t exactly earth-shattering, and you’ll still need to have some compatible smart devices to use them.
But they do hint at a long-promised smart home experience that can be hands-free and work in the background, both to control your home and to help reduce bills.
Maybe it’s time to start looking for some of the best smart home gadgets.