Apple has been doing some remarkable things with audio lately. The sound coming out of a new MacBook or iPad Pro is nothing short of amazing, given the tiny speakers they have. AirPods sound spectacular. And then there’s the original HomePods, which punch way above their weight and are some of the best speakers out there.
But what about the new HomePod minis, which cost $99 and pack the potential to give Apple a much-needed boost in the smart speaker game? Do they sound any good?
Apple’s new Intercom feature lets you use HomePods to send short audio messages to almost anyone with an Apple device. While Apple showcased Intercom when unveiling the upcoming HomePod mini smart speaker, the feature also works with the regular HomePod as well as iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and more.
If you a HomePod, and you’ve updated it (and your other Apple devices) with the latest software, you can use Intercom to communicate with your family or housemates in new ways.
Apple took the wraps of the HomePod mini Tuesday, showcasing a pint-size smart speaker that promises high-end audio at a lower price than its big brother. But the most interesting parts might have nothing to do with music.
With Apple’s custom U1 ultra-wideband chip inside, the HomePod mini also can serve as an advanced hub for home automation. A new Intercom feature promises to connect family members wherever they are. And, in typical Cupertino fashion, the speaker will work closely with other Apple devices.
Like the larger HomePod, the small, round smart speaker comes wrapped in a mesh fabric. A backlit touch surface on the top offers volume controls and shines during Siri interactions.
The HomePod mini measures just 3.3 inches high by 3.9 inches wide, and weighs just 0.76 pounds. It packs one full-range driver and dual passive radiators, and it leans on what Apple calls “computational audio” to deliver high-quality audio out of this smaller form factor. Despite many of Apple’s glamor shots making it look totally wireless, the HomePod mini relies on a cord just like its big brother.
An experience ‘only Apple can deliver’
Long-time Apple fans might not be too shocked to hear that the $99 smart speaker will offer an experience “only Apple can deliver.”
October 4, 2011: With the unveiling of the new iPhone 4s, Apple introduces the world to Siri.
A groundbreaking example of AI in action, Siri’s debut fulfills a long-term dream at Apple. The company first predicted such a feature in the 1980s — with the Siri launch coming at almost the exact month Apple envisioned.
Are you sick of Siri on Apple Watch butting into your conversations? Prevent it by customizing the way Siri works, or by disabling it altogether. It’s easy to do and it fixes one of Apple Watch’s biggest annoyances.
Does the voice data harvested by voice assistants like Siri give tech giants an unfair marketplace advantage? Lawmakers in Europe are currently pondering that exact question.
A European Commission investigation into the matter will look at whether this data is being used to stifle competition and maintain the position of companies like Apple and Amazon in the marketplace. This most notably relates to the rapidly expanding constellation of smart, connected devices.
Siri’s far from the only voice assistant with a weakness when it comes to false triggers, however. The study compiled a list of over 1,000 words that can accidentally activate different A.I. assistants.
If you ever stumble across a lost iPhone or iPad, you’ll want to sell it safely return it to its owner as quickly as possible. But how do you find out who it belongs to? Just ask Siri! Find out how with this handy pro tip.
You don’t need to be using a Disney face to get your Apple Watch to tell you the time. Using a simple tap gesture, you can have the time read to you while using any watch face. Find out how in this Apple Watch pro tip.