Alongside making the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max available for today, Apple also opened preorders for the newly released HomePod mini today. This was the first HomePod hardware refresh since the product debuted in 2017, however, Apple is also keeping the original HomePod available for sale.
The HomePod is priced at $299 USD and features the A8 chip, seven horn-loaded tweeters, a high-excursion woofer, and a six microphone array for audio detection. Using the above features, the HomePod is able to process custom Apple-engineered audio technology and advanced software to deliver sound that fills the room. Using the microphone array, the HomePod is able to measure a room in real-time and tune the audio to optimize the sound for your space, as well as detect, “Hey Siri” and use noice cancellation and echo reduction to understand your commands.
The HomePod integrates into your smart home thanks to HomeKit and is able to control all of your compatible devices, and thanks to tvOS 14, HomePod can now be set as the permanent audio source for TV 4K. Also, if there is a stereo pair of HomePods, they can now support Dolby Atmos audio, creating a truly immersive movie experience.
The HomePod mini is priced at $99 USD, and for that lower price tag, it features some upgrades, but also some downgrades compared to HomePod. HomePod minis biggest upgrade is the introduction of the S5 chip, which will improve the onboard processing for enriched audio and enable HomePod mini to support HomeKit secure video. Another brand new feature to HomePod mini is the introduction of U1 chip. This will help to improve hand off for transferring audio between iPhone 11 and newer, as well as display relevant information from HomePod mini on nearby iPhones.
HomePod mini can also be set as the audio source for TV and TV 4K, but due to its smaller form factor, it does not support Dolby Atmos. Apple does state that due to the improved processing power of the S5 chip, it will help to improve audio quality to make up for the size of HomePod mini when compared with HomePod.
Which is right for me?
It’s clear that Apple has different purposes in mind for the HomePod and HomePod mini, and it really depends on what you plan on using it for which HomePod is right for you. If you plan on using them with your TV or TV 4K, then the HomePod would be the route to go. With its larger size and Dolby Atmos support, you won’t be disappointed. However, if you’re planning on using them just as replacements for other voice assistants that you have around the home and for music consumption, then HomePod mini would be my recommendation.