HomePod mini smart speaker with touch panel, Ultra WideBand technology launched

Deepak Gupta
Deepak Gupta January 10, 2022
Updated 2022/01/10 at 12:12 AM

The HomePod mini, Apple’s new smart speaker, was launched alongside the iPhone 12 models at its ‘Hi, Speed’ event on Tuesday. As the name suggests, it’s a smaller version of the HomePod that was first introduced in late 2017. The HomePod mini is about half the size of the original HomePod, but follows the same design aesthetic, albeit with a new touch panel light emitter in the main. It has Ultra WideBand (UWB) capabilities that let you track other Apple devices with the U1 chip and use the information for media controls, port locks, and interaction with other smart home devices.

HomePod mini price, availability

The HomePod mini price in India has been fixed at Rs. 9,900, while in the US, it costs $99 (approximately Rs. 7,300) – less than half the price of the HomePod, but twice as much as the Google Nest Mini and nearly twice as much as the Echo Dot. It comes in two color options – White and Space Gray. It can be ordered from November 6th in India and several other countries including the US, Canada, France and Germany. Sales are scheduled to start on November 16th.Apple homepod mini features homepod

HomePod mini offers many features that revolve around Siri and the new UWB functionality

HomePod mini Specifications and Features

The HomePod mini is powered by the Apple S5 processor, which is also found in the Apple Watch Series 5. It will also include a U1 chip to enable Ultra Wideband support. This will allow for better spatial perception and accurate tracking of distance between another device with a U1 chip, which includes models of iPhones and Apple Watch. HomePod mini uses this location information to take care of things like brightness, media controls, volume controls, door locks and more. It can also alert you when a device is removed from your home. With Ultra Wideband technology and the U1 chip, Apple seeks to provide broader HomeKit support and enhanced functionality.

A new feature called Intercom allows HomePod users to send messages from one unit to another within a home. It can also work with an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and even a car with CarPlay. A message can be played over all the speakers in the house or even through AirPods used by family members. A simple voice command allows message recipients to respond.

Requests to Siri are not associated with an Apple ID, and the company promises to use strong encryption to protect users’ privacy.

Being a smart speaker, it comes with Siri and you can ask the voice assistant to play music from various music streaming apps. For speakers, the HomePod mini has two tweeters, far fewer than the larger HomePod’s seven. There’s also a touch-sensitive surface on the top that allows users to control the volume. This design is quite different from the original HomePod as it had a plastic top with a screen.

Are Apple Watch SE and iPad 8th Generation the Perfect ‘Affordable’ Products for India? We discuss this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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