This story is part of, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.
Because Google has already started its ownthis holiday season and amazon Very shortly, Apple’s new speaker would like to convince consumers to consider an alternative to the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa-based alternatives that are currently dominating the segment. The spherical device that was launched alongside the new one , has a familiar network coverage and a touch surface with controls on the flat top for volume, playback and pause.
Apple says it combined a powerful voice assistant with the same great sound quality in the original HomePod. In addition, the device’s privacy features reflect the way. Your inquiries and conversations with Siri are not tied to your Apple ID, which is a form of anonymization, and the data is encrypted, Apple says.
“There’s a lot of Apple innovation in such a small speaker at an affordable price,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of global product marketing, in the announcement. The product was unveiled at an Apple event that was filmed at the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters and held virtually on Tuesday.
According to Apple, the device will be available to order from November 6th and will be shipped from the week of November 16th. The lower price sets it apart from the original HomePod, which is priced at $ 299 in the US (although it can often be found reduced to $ 199). Amazon and Google have smart speakers in this high price range too, but most of their market share comes from speakers in the $ 50 price range. That high price tag is one of the factors that limited HomePod sales, making it difficult for Apple to get Siri into the home as a voice assistant.
To justify the higher price tag of the original HomePod, Apple used it as a high-end bookshelf speaker. The first HomePod largely fulfilled that promise, but that positioning also helped protect Siri from being overly scrutinized as a conversation assistant alongside the superior Alexa and Google Assistant.
The lower price and size aren’t the only changes seen in the HomePod Mini. The spokesperson will also be working with outside music streaming services like Pandora and Amazon in the coming months. This integration sets the HomePod Mini apart from the original HomePod, which was limited to Apple Music for voice-controlled streaming.
However, the HomePod Mini is clearly aimed at working with Apple products and services, and it connects the speaker to the apps that run on iPhones. The goal is to allow users to ask Siri simple questions about the speaker that gets answers from iPhone apps, said Yael Garten, Apple’s director of science and technology at Siri.
“What really sets the HomePod Mini apart is its deep integration with the iPhone,” said Garten.
The device is also designed to allow users to control the smart home with their voices. That is expanding, the company’s platform for smart home devices that can now be connected to the HomePod Mini.
Apple also incorporated HomePod Mini features designed to entice people into buying more than one device. Multiple speakers can synchronize music in different parts of a house. When two speakers are together, they switch to stereo mode. The company said this will complement the high quality sound of its “computational audio” system, which analyzes music and adjusts mood and other audio functions to optimize the sound.
Finally, the device is positioned as a family-friendly addition to the house. The intercom function thatThis feature allows users to ask Siri on their phones to play a message on the smart speaker so that people in other rooms can hear it. The recipient can also return a message by voice. The HomePod Mini can also recognize the difference between the voices of different household members and personalize the responses to them.