Apple today introduced a new member to the HomePod family at its ‘Hi, Speed’ event. It’s called the HomePod mini, and it’s meant to be more competitive against Amazon’s Echo family of smart speakers, which currently dominate the market thanks to their relatively low prices.
The original HomePod is pretty large at 6.8 inches tall, but the new device has a smaller profile with a height of just 3.3 inches. And while it’s still covered in familiar-looking mesh fabric, it features a spherical design with a top cutout that exposes the same LED matrix found on the larger HomePod. It also comes in the same white and space gray colors and with a similar, non-removable power cord.
Powering the device is the same S5 chipset found in the Apple Watch SE and Series 5, which is less powerful than the HomePod’s A8 SoC, but also more energy-efficient.
Apple says it’s powerful enough to enable “computational audio,” which is another way of saying it analyzes the music you play to improve the loudness and dynamic range of the sound output.
Apple also announced that HomePod Mini will sync up with any other HomePod family products in the same home—and demonstrated this with two of the new, smaller units on the same shelf, acting as a veritable “stereo” arrangement. All HomePod products will soon be updated with “Intercom,” a feature that lets users speak into one HomePod and have the voice message play on another speaker unit. In good hands-free news, this feature will also work with Apple CarPlay.
The HomePod mini will be available for pre-order on November 6 and will start shipping on November 16. Priced at $99.