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Apple updates the HomePod with improved sound, Matter support, new sensors

The HomePod is back. It looks the same, but there are plenty of changes to be found under the cloth exterior.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer
Reviewed by Alyson Windsor
TV between two Apple HomePods
Image: Apple

Apple users now have another smart speaker to choose from when browsing Apple's HomePod offering. The revamped HomePod looks exactly like the original HomePod that was released in 2018, but underneath that mesh fabric, it's all new. 

The $299 HomePod is available to order from Apple right now, with deliveries and in-store availability starting Feb. 3. You can get it in Midnight (black) or White. 

Inside the HomePod you're looking at an S7 processor, the same one used in the Apple Watch Series 7. That chip is used for features like Apple's room sensing technology that allows the HomePod to identify where it's placed in a room (against a wall, in an open space, etc.) and adapt its sound to match the environment. 

Also: Don't waste your money on these Apple products: January 2023

There are a total of five tweeters inside the HomePod -- a couple fewer than the original HomePod -- but Apple states the new HomePod offers better sound. 

Image: Apple

You can, of course, pair two HomePods to create a stereo pair for listening to music or pair with your Apple TV to use them in the place of a soundbar.

There's now an ultra wideband chip inside the HomePod, making it possible to use a compatible iPhone to move music from your phone to the speaker or vice-versa. 

A temperate and humidity sensor is also present inside the HomePod, with Apple touting the ability for users to check the temperate and humidity levels in the room the HomePod is placed. 

Also: How to add your HomePod to the Home app and Wi-Fi

The new HomePod also supports Matter, the new cross-platform smart home standard

In the spring, Apple will release a software update for the HomePod that enables Sound Recognition. When enabled, the HomePod will listen for a carbon monoxide or smoke alarm and then alert you on your iPhone. 

On paper, the new HomePod looks and sounds like a worthwhile upgrade from the first-generation 2018 HomePod. However, we'll wait to pass judgment until we get one on our desks. 

Again, you can order the new HomePod right now, directly from Apple. It'll arrive on Feb. 3.

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