The second-generation HomePod is a follow-up to Apple’s original device from 2018, and while it mimics the design of the original (read: discontinued) model, some major hardware improvements make Apple’s forthcoming automation hub worth a look.
The biggest and perhaps most obvious upgrade to the new HomePod is the Thread support and Matter compatibility, which allows the speaker to communicate with other Matter-enabled devices and provide seamless connectivity and stability to your home network. The 2023 HomePod also features an improved S7 CPU, first seen in the Apple Watch Series 7, which should help the device keep pace with other smart home devices.
Oddly enough, Apple has reduced the number of speakers and microphones in the new HomePod. However, according to Apple, Siri will be able to recognize different voices and provide personalized responses, which should help solve some of the issues we had with the original HomePod. The new smart speaker also gets spatial audio support via Dolby Atmos, and Apple claims the new model can adjust its sound by dynamically sensing where it’s placed in a room. Also, like the original, you can pair two HomePods together for stereo sound and use them as speakers for an Apple TV 4K.
As for other new additions, the new HomePod has a built-in temperature and humidity sensor that can be paired to activate other smart home devices. The HomePod Mini apparently also has this feature, although it can’t be used in the same way.