HomePod mini features ‘secret’ sensor that’s waiting to be activated

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First HomePod mini reviews: Better late than never
Apple recently pulled the plug on the full-size HomePod to focus on its smaller sibling.
Photo: Apple

The HomePod mini has a hidden capability that Apple has yet to put into action: a sensor that measures both temperature and humidity.

According to Bloomberg, the sensor could be used to trigger smart home actions, such as turning a fan on or off depending on the temperature. It’s not clear why Apple has not yet activated the sensor so customers can utilize the feature — or when it might do so.

The tiny sensor is “buried in the bottom edge of the HomePod mini’s plastic, fabric-wrapped case” near the speaker’s power cable. It is made by the company Texas Instruments, and is officially called the HDC2010 Humidity and Temperature Digital Sensor.

Both the fourth-generation Amazon Echo and second-generation Echo Plus pack similar temperature sensors. That means users can ask, “Alexa, how warm is it in this room?” as an addition/alternative to simply asking for local weather information.

Future of the HomePod

Apple recently discontinued its full-size HomePod speaker, ostensibly to focus on the smaller HomePod mini. The company hasn’t revealed any future plans for its smart speaker lineup. From the sound of things, though, Apple could make future HomePods a more integrated, crucial part of its HomeKit smart home initiative.

Bloomberg writes:

“[No] unifying strategy has emerged so far [for HomePod], one of the people familiar with the situation said. The people asked not to be identified discussing sensitive issues. This comes after Apple sought to revamp its smart home efforts with a new team it began forming in 2019.”

The report also says Apple had been working on an updated HomePod for release in 2022. In addition, the company is exploring new speakers “with screens and cameras,” although no launch is imminent. It remains unclear whether a refreshed HomePod is still in the works.

Source: Bloomberg