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HomePod 2: Apple's smart speaker has arrived – here's where to buy it
Apple updates its biggest smart speaker with new guts and an updated touch surface, and you can get one now
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Siri gets swole again
🔊 Find the Apple HomePod 2 in store now with updated smarts
💰 $299 HomePod 2 price is easier to swallow than the original’s $349 intro cost
🤔 Apple says it’s back “due to popular demand”
🧪 I’ll be testing the new HomePod starting today, with a full review to come
The speaker’s announcement came as a bit of a surprise, despite an Apple HomePod 2 rumor we covered just the day before – it had been often whispered along the way, yet the return of the big, bad HomePod always failed to materialize.
At first glance, not much has changed; the HomePod 2 looks… very much like its predecessor (the HomePod 2 still stains wood, even). But the new HomePod 2 gets a few key upgrades over the 2018 model that preceded it, including new temperature and humidity sensors, a faster Apple S8 processor (the same one as the best Apple Watch), Thread border router capability and more. Apple used a little less equipment in the new speaker, though, with just five tweeters to the old model’s seven and two fewer far-field microphones.
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The first HomePod didn’t exactly sell like hotcakes. The speaker debuted late at a collar-tugging $349, offering incredible sound, but failing to appeal to either smart home aficionados or audiophiles because both had simply better options – more able smart assistants for the former and more versatile audio options for the latter. Yet the company chalks up the HomePod’s return to popular demand, so it clearly had its fans.
Apple still hasn’t addressed HomePod complaints – there are still no physical inputs or real EQ options – but there are definitely reasons for owners of the original to upgrade, not the least of which is the high likelihood Apple fixed issues that caused at least some HomePods to fail, usually heralded by extended periods of random popping noises.
For folks who just want a Siri speaker though, Apple made the HomePod Mini more appealing, as it appears to have all the same features in a tidier package with more modest audio quality. Rumors suggest there may be a HomePod Mini 2 next year as well, which bodes well for that speaker’s reception.
HomePod 2 review to come
I’m expecting a pair of the speakers today, so I’ll be offering early impressions of the sound and functionality as soon as I can, to be followed by a full HomePod 2 review at the end of next week. Expect me to look at the HomePod 2 vs the original HomePod and draw comparisons with the HomePod Mini’s smarts, as well as the $199 Amazon Echo Studio, among other competitors. Is the new HomePod 2 the best smart speaker? Only time (and detailed hands-on testing) will tell.