Just shy of two years after Apple's original full-size HomePod was officially discontinued in early 2021, its successor is here. The new second-generation HomePod was announced by Apple this morning, with a handful of new sensors, support for the new Matter smart home standard and, maybe most notable at all, a $299 price tag — $50 less than where its older brother debuted.
Apple HomePod (2nd-generation) Apple Read More
Almost immediately after the original HomePod was released in 2018, it was left to languish. Its $350 price point was roundly beaten by competitors from Google and Amazon, and it got little attention from Apple until its apparent replacement by the $99 HomePod mini in late 2020 (two of which can make for a mean pair of speakers). Now, the second generation HomePod is attempting to revive the larger form factor with a more modest price and some additional features to sweeten the deal.
The new HomePod sports some new sensors, which lean into its capabilities as a smart home hub. Equipped with a temperature and humidity sensor, the new HomePod can be used to rig up HomeKit automations to trigger related automations, and its support for the Matter smart home standard set it up to play nicely with and bring Siri to the next generation of compatible smart devices that are starting to be released.
Apple is also touting the sound quality of the new full-size HomePod, much like with its predecessor. The new HomePod has a "high-excursion woofer" and a "five beamforming tweeter array" and can be paired in stereo with a second HomePod, or connected to HomePod minis for multi-room Airplay listening.
There are a few catches though. The new HomePod can't be stereo paired with an original full-size HomePod; only a second new one. There is also no mention of Apple Music's lossless tier.
The new HomePod is available to order now at $299, with a release date scheduled for February 3rd. We'll find out how it sounds in practice closer to release next month.