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Apple unveils $99 HomePod Mini smart speaker launching next month

Apple's smart speaker, the HomePod is smaller and more affordable now.

homepod-mini.jpg

Apple

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During Apple's "Hi, Speed." iPhone 12 event on Tuesday, the company announced a follow up smart speaker, the HomePod Mini. The smaller speaker is more affordable, with a $99 price tag, and smaller than the original HomePod. It goes on sale Nov. 6 and will start shipping Nov. 16. 

Apple still leverages Siri, along with several new software updates and improvements, including the ability to play music from third-party services like Spotify, instead of being limited to Apple Music as has been the case since its launch in 2018. 

The smaller speaker has the same mesh covering on the outside as the original HomePod, albeit smaller, but it's more of a spherical shape than the column-like shape of the bigger HomePod. The top screen on the Mini is used to indicate when Siri is listening to your voice commands and accepts touch controls for controlling volume and music playback.

homepod-mini-2.jpg

Apple

The HomePod Mini has smart home controls, built-in assistant, and amazing sound while keeping security and privacy in mind.

The HomePod Mini provides 360-degree sound and is powered by the Apple S5 processor. It uses computational audio to adjust the audio that comes out of the speaker as it's coming out, tuning it for ideal sound quality in real-time. 

Apple HomePod Mini

The HomePod Mini has an Ultra Wide Band chip inside it, the same kind of chip that made its debut in the iPhone 11 but hasn't been fully used yet. The UWB chip in the HomePod Mini will be activated later this year and will allow for a more seamless handoff experience when moving music playback or phone calls from the HomePod Mini to your iPhone or vice versa. 

Apple also announced several updates to Siri and HomePod, including CarPlay integration and a new intercom feature that will let you send a message to other HomePod's in your house, along with sending messages to your family iPhones and AirPods.

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