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Apple announces 2nd generation HomePod launching February 3

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Apple has announced its new 2nd generation HomePod. The speaker offers Siri, computational audio, Spatial Audio and smart home automation with Siri.

The new HomePod is available to pre-order today, with it launching on February 3rd, and costs $399 CAD.

Apple is using a seamless, acoustically transparent mesh fabric with a backlit touch surface that illuminates from edge to edge. It also comes in both white and midnight, a new colour for the HomePod that is made with 100 percent recycled mesh fabric with a colour-matched woven power cable.

The HomePod uses a rich deep bass and offers stunningly high frequencies as well. Apple is using a custom-engineered high-excursion woofer, built-in bass EQ mic, and beamforming array of five tweeters around the base that work together for a better acoustic experience. It also sports an S7 chip combined with software and system-sensing tech to offer advanced computational audio.

The smart home speaker also uses room sensing technology with sound reflections (which sounds like echo location) from nearby surfaces to tell if it’s against a wall or freestanding and adapts the sound in real-time. It also has precise direction control of its beamforming teeters to help immerse the listener.

You can use the HomePod to create a home theatre experience with Apple TV 4K. You can make the HomePodc the audio system for all devices connected to the TV and control what’s playing on the Apple TV hands-free.

And with Find My on HomePod you can ask Siri for the location of friends or loved ones or get it to locate other Apple devices with Find My.

Another cool feature of the device is Sound Recognition, which can listen for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and send a notification directly to the user’s iPhone if the sound is identified. The built-in temperature and humidity sensor can measure indoor environments, so a user can create automation that closes the blinds or automatically turns on the fan when a room temperature is reached.

Of course, with Siri, you can search by artist, song, lyrics, decade, genre, mood or more. Siri also allows users to have the HomePod wake them up with a good morning or set automation like “Hey Siri, open the blinds daily at sunrise.”

Siri will make a confirmation tone when it’s requested to control an accessory that may not show a visible change.

The HomePod offers Matter support, which enables home products to work across ecosystems while also maintaining the highest level of security. Apple is all about protecting customer privacy, which is why all smart home communications are end-to-end encrypted, so they can’t be accessed by Apple. And Siri requests aren’t stored.

HomePod is designed to minimize environmental impact, says Apple, and offers 100 percent recycled gold, a first for the HomePod, in the plating of its circuited boards, and 100 percent recycled rare earth elements in the speaker magnet.  It also features redesigned packaging that eliminates plastic wrap, and 96 percent of the packaging is fibre base, which brings Apple closer to its goal of removing all plastic from its packaging by 2025.

Apple’s original HomePod launched in 2018, but was discontinued after three years. Since then it has been pushing the HomePod mini, which launched in 2020, so it was time we saw a new smart speaker

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