Apple’s Hardware Engineering VP explains HomePod’s triumphant return

Apple last month announced the return of the HomePod (2nd generation), a powerful smart speaker that delivers next-level acoustics in a gorgeous, iconic design. Packed with Apple innovations and Siri intelligence, HomePod offers advanced computational audio for a groundbreaking listening experience, including support for immersive Spatial Audio tracks.

HomePod (second generation) offers a high-excursion woofer, powerful motor, internal bass-EQ mic, and beam-forming five-tweeter array to deliver a powerful acoustic experience.

With convenient new ways to manage everyday tasks and control the smart home, users can now create smart home automations using Siri, get notified when a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm is detected in their home, and check temperature and humidity in a room—all hands -free.

Brian Heater for TechCrunch:

In hindsight, it’s not entirely surprising the HomePod was discontinued in 2021, but it still felt strange that the company was removing what had previously been the cornerstone of its smart home strategy.

Earlier this month, the company announced an about-face. HomePod was returning. The speaker looked nearly identical to the product announced in 2018, but Apple promised even better sound, coupled with improved smart home functionality. While the company won’t disclose how long it’s been working on this iteration of the product, a spokesperson confirmed with TechCrunch that the revival is due to customer demand, noting, “We really did hear from our customers this growing interest for more powerful and richer acoustics of a larger speaker.” In other words, this wasn’t part of some secret plan to bring the product back all along.

“We deeply studied the learnings from the first HomePod and HomePod mini,” Matthew Costello, Apple’s vice president, Hardware Engineering and Operations, told TechCrunch, “and we introduced the new HomePod when it was able to achieve our broad range of experience goals. ”

The timing of the new HomePod’s arrival as Matter is beginning to ramp up is presumably not a coincidence. An Apple spokesperson tells TechCrunch it’s “really excited” about the new standard. “The new Matter smart home connectivity standard gives users more choice and interoperability to connect a wide variety of smart home accessories across different ecosystems,” Costello says. “With support for Thread, the new HomePod can serve as a border router and securely enable communications to Thread-based accessories located throughout the home.”

MacDaily News Take: With the mini on the market, it never made any sense to remove the HomePod. Even if it wasn’t a huge moneymaker. We’re glad it’s back!

Having one product called “HomePod mini” is stupid. It directly leads a potential customer to ask, “Well, where’s the real HomePod?” “Or the HomePod Max?” You know, for every “mini” Apple product there’s at least one big brother (Mac mini, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 13 mini).

“So, where’s the real HomePod?”
“Oh that? “It failed.”

That’s not a huge confidence boost for “HomePod mini.” A prospective buyer might rightly wonder, “Hmm, for how long is Apple going to remain committed to this ‘mini’ product if its parent is already cancelled?” –MacDailyNews, November 1, 2021

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