How Apple’s new HomePod Gen 2 is different from the original HomePod: Every spec, feature compared

The HomePod Gen 2 will set you back by Rs 32,900 in India

Apple HomePod Gen 2
The HomePod Gen 2 will set you back by Rs 32,900 in India

In a surprise reveal, Apple “silently” launched the second-generation HomePod smart speaker globally, India included, last night. The original HomePod had a bit of a rocky journey. It was announced globally in 2017 but Apple was able to ship it only in 2018. Even when it was finally available, it was criticised for its not-so-smart Siri smarts (and praised for its sound quality) and strict ecosystem lock-in limitations.

Its India launch was even more complicated. Apple’s first smart speaker was launched in India after a two-year wait – in 2020. But the delay meant, it was sold in the country at a slightly lower price than global, albeit very briefly. The HomePod was officially discontinued the next year, in 2021.

Also Read | Apple launches HomePod second-generation Siri smart speaker with S7 chip, Matter support: Top features, price in India and more

The new HomePod is in many ways, similar to the old HomePod, right from how it works to what it can and can’t do. There’s still no Bluetooth and audio line-in. Oddly—but not to anyone’s surprise— enough, you can’t pair the new HomePod with the older model for stereo output (for that you’ll need two same-gen HomePods). It looks very familiar, too. But there are some new capabilities worth talking about and a new asking price, too, which is quite aggressive if you’re in the US for instance. Not so much in India, though.

Here’s how the new HomePod (Gen 2) compares to the original purely in terms of feature set:

  1. The new HomePod has a four-inch woofer with five tweeters. The original model had seven.
  2. You get five microphones in the new HomePod. The original came with seven.
  3. Like the original, the new HomePod also offers 360-degree sound and is capable of dynamically adjusting to its surroundings to offer the best of high-fidelity audio playback. Presumably, all this would have been improved in this generation, because of the upgraded core hardware inside.
  4. The new HomePod is powered by Apple’s S7 chip, last seen inside the Apple Watch Series 7. The original HomePod had the A8 chip.
  5. In a first, Apple has added temperature and humidity sensors inside the new HomePod to trigger smart home automations depending on your environmnent. The original did not have this feature. Interestingly, speculation is rife that even the HomePod Mini has these sensors but in dormant state.
  6. The new HomePod can listen for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and notify users on their iPhone when it detects them, sort of like an emergency alarm. The original did not have this.
  7. Apple is also opening up the HomePod’s capabilities a bit in this generation by putting in support for Thread wireless protocol and the smart home standard Matter. The original was completely locked to Apple’s standards.
  8. The HomePod Gen 2 will set you back by Rs 32,900 in India which is a bit higher than its global launch price. Globally, Apple has priced the new HomePod lower than the original ($299 versus $349). The original HomePod was launched in India at a price of Rs 19,990.

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First published on: 19-01-2023 at 15:19 IST
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