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Apple has revived the full-sized HomePod, launching a second-generation model almost two years after it stopped selling the original.
The new HomePod looks pretty similar to the original, but the top surface is indented (like on the HomePod mini) rather than flush. The power cord is also removable this time around.
In terms of sound, Apple hasn't explicitly made comparisons to the original model. Instead, the manufacturer says it "delivers incredible audio quality, with rich, deep bass and stunning high frequencies". Once again, there's an in-house processor inside to sense where the HomePod is and dynamically tweak the sound.
The new HomePod can be paired with another second-generation model for stereo sound. If you have an original HomePod, you won't be able to use it with the new model for stereo, but you can still create audio groups.
Unsurprisingly, the HomePod is still very much designed for those deep in the Apple ecosystem. You'll need to use Siri or AirPlay to get it to play music; there's no option for Bluetooth.
You can however use streaming apps other than Apple Music. TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Deezer are all supported. Spotify is a major omission.
Apple has also kitted out the new HomePod with a few additional smart home features. There's a temperature and humidity sensor that can be used to trigger automations (turning on a fan if it gets over 25 degrees, for example), and sound recognition functionality that can alert you if a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm is ringing.
Sound recognition won't be available until later this year, however. Both features will also come to the HomePod mini.
Lastly, the new HomePod supports the Matter smart home standard and acts as a Thread border router.
The new take on Apple's original HomePod has seemingly come about due to the success of the HomePod mini.
"With the popularity of HomePod mini, we’ve seen growing interest in even more powerful acoustics achievable in a larger HomePod," said Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Greg Joswiak. "We’re thrilled to bring the next generation of HomePod to customers around the world.”
The new HomePod is available to pre-order from today ahead of a February 3 release date. It will set you back $479.