Apple releases $99 HomePod mini smart speaker

13

Comments

  • Reply 41 of 61
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,850member
    dewme said:
    Take THAT, Alexa!
    The HomePod Mini is certainly a direct competitor to the standard Echo, but for non-audiophile use cases the lower-end Echo Dot still has a huge following, and will continue to sell very well. If Amazon would put the new spherical Dot with the embedded clock on sale during Prime days I'd buy one immediately because I need an unobtrusive clock in my family room, and it also integrates well into my security system.

    The family of Echo devices have had intercom and announcement capability for a couple of years (at least) and the Echo devices with screens, the Echo Spot and the three Echo Shows (5", 8", and 10") devices link seamlessly with Ring cameras. The Dot, standard Echo, and Studio integrate with Ring Alarm to provide glass breakage detection as well as being listeners for your smoke and CO alarms. I take no shame in taking advantage of Amazon's willingness to sell these buggers at a loss. The fact that I can access Apple Music, podcasts, and streaming radio (like NPR) on all of my Echo devices is a really big deal.

    I really enjoy my HomePod and if I had a need for another smart speaker somewhere on my property I would buy the HomePod Mini in a heartbeat. Apple's implementation of the intercom functionality will no doubt be better than Amazon's, which it should be considering how long they've had to sample the competition. The main issue I have right now is that nearly every room in my house, including the garage, laundry room, basement, and main bathroom already has a smart speaker. I recently acquired an Echo Studio for free and I struggled to find a place to put it where it alone would answer queries. By the way, the HomePod sounds better than the Echo Studio, but the Studio is not far behind.

    The choice of "smart" devices for my home was largely defined by timing and availability. At the time I built out my system Apple was far behind with HomeKit. They are catching up, but certainly not at a breakneck pace. I'm into the Amazon and Ring around smart home devices, home automation, and security ecosystem pretty deep, about as deep as I'm into the Apple ecosystem with just about everything Apple does from iPhones, Macs, all the cloud services, etc. I'm totally okay with this. Having this heterogeneity is a good thing in my case because: 1) each ecosystem is very well integrated within its own sphere of influence, 2) the two systems are actually nicely, i.e., loosely, coupled by virtue of client access from iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Windows, and 3) the likelihood of a single point failure is somewhat reduced. If Apple's or Amazon's servers go down individually, I'm not going to lose everything. 

    The opportunity for winner-take-all exclusivity between Apple and Amazon has long passed, at least for me. I'm very content to keep gleaning the best from both ecosystems. Nothing thrills me more than seeing Apple and Amazon getting along very nicely.

    For those of us who are disinclined to allow Amazon access to an open microphone in our home, HomeKit is the clear choice. I’d rather wait for Apple to build out their ecosystem properly and securely than have Amazon try to sell me toilet paper or toothpaste when Alexa hears me go into the bathroom. The $99 HomePod mini is just the thing to get things going for HomeKit. With the intercom feature, a lot of these will soon be distributed throughout people’s homes, making Siri commands for HomeKit devices a more convenient and viable thing. 
    Detnatormike1GG1watto_cobra
  • Reply 42 of 61
    If I already have 1 HomePod, can I pair it with a HomePod mini to get the stereo? Or does it absolutely have to be 2 HomePod mini together?  :|
    edited October 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 43 of 61
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,979member
    eightzero said:
    OK, can this HomePod mini play music on a iTunes library hosted on mac on the same wifi network without a music subscription?
    If you aren't using Apple Music, I believe you have to use iTunes Match if you want to use Siri to play music. Otherwise, you will just have to use AirPlay from your Mac to play local files. 
    Seems to be the case. IOW, you need to pay for a subscription service to get full functionality from the device. Clever.

    I want to like this, but I can't. YMMV.
  • Reply 44 of 61
    eightzero said:
    OK, can this HomePod mini play music on a iTunes library hosted on mac on the same wifi network without a music subscription?
    Via AirPlay...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 45 of 61
    One of the best things about the show-and-tell.  Love the interconnected, easy communications.  Don't always want to talk to everyone in our household every minute of the day - nor do they; but, having the easy access even adds to safety in a household primarily composed of geezers.

    Hope the dog doesn't figure out Siri.
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 46 of 61
    I wonder when someone will train a parrot to say "Hey Siri, tell me a joke."
    OnPartyBusinessDetnatorwatto_cobra
  • Reply 47 of 61
    elijahg said:

    Detnator said:
    elijahg said:
    The intercom feature is great, hopefully it'll come to the existing Homepod (maxi?). The price is far better than the HomePod maxi too, so I think sales will be better than the HP. I do think Apple should have a cheap HomeKit speaker to put in each room for £30 or so, to compete with Amazon. Not really for music, but just for queries. Though this would need Siri to be less crap. For comparison, the Amazon Dot is on offer now in the UK for £19.
    Pretty sure they're never going to do that.  Apple has never participated in the "race to the bottom" with pricing - just like they'll never release a $300 laptop or a $100 iPhone.  They're just not interested in competing in those markets - never have and I can't see that they ever will.  Steve was adamant about that in his time and Tim's kept it that way.

    They sell billions of all their products, DESPITE the prices, because they only compete in the mid to high end markets, but they do it better than the others (at least if all those buyers - and the "I want one" people - are any indication) even at the "higher" prices.  
    Yeah exactly. This dude doesn't get Apple. They aren't going to make a $30 echo dot.
    You said exactly the same about HomePod when people said it was too expensive. And now look where we are. You obviously don't get Apple.
    Oh I did? Please, show me where I ever said Apple would never create a less expensive mini version, which is a common pattern in their product strategy. Go ahead, I’ll wait. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 48 of 61
    eightzero said:
    eightzero said:
    OK, can this HomePod mini play music on a iTunes library hosted on mac on the same wifi network without a music subscription?
    If you aren't using Apple Music, I believe you have to use iTunes Match if you want to use Siri to play music. Otherwise, you will just have to use AirPlay from your Mac to play local files. 
    Seems to be the case. IOW, you need to pay for a subscription service to get full functionality from the device. Clever.

    I want to like this, but I can't. YMMV.
    I guess it all comes down to how important is using Siri for you? Personally, I always stream to my HomePod or Onkyo receiver via AirPlay. I do have a free Apple Music subscription via my wireless carrier, but most of the time I'm playing music from local files. I have way too much music to upload to Apple Music so I have 2 iTunes libraries. One for Apple Music and the other with all my music. 
    edited October 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 49 of 61
    eightzero said:
    OK, can this HomePod mini play music on a iTunes library hosted on mac on the same wifi network without a music subscription?
    Sure - just like any other AirPlay device.  Select it as the output of the Mac your running iTunes on.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 50 of 61
    Beats said:
    Detnator said:

    elijahg said:

    Detnator said:
    elijahg said:
    The intercom feature is great, hopefully it'll come to the existing Homepod (maxi?). The price is far better than the HomePod maxi too, so I think sales will be better than the HP. I do think Apple should have a cheap HomeKit speaker to put in each room for £30 or so, to compete with Amazon. Not really for music, but just for queries. Though this would need Siri to be less crap. For comparison, the Amazon Dot is on offer now in the UK for £19.
    Pretty sure they're never going to do that.  Apple has never participated in the "race to the bottom" with pricing - just like they'll never release a $300 laptop or a $100 iPhone.  They're just not interested in competing in those markets - never have and I can't see that they ever will.  Steve was adamant about that in his time and Tim's kept it that way.

    They sell billions of all their products, DESPITE the prices, because they only compete in the mid to high end markets, but they do it better than the others (at least if all those buyers - and the "I want one" people - are any indication) even at the "higher" prices.  
    Yeah exactly. This dude doesn't get Apple. They aren't going to make a $30 echo dot.
    You said exactly the same about HomePod when people said it was too expensive. And now look where we are. You obviously don't get Apple.
    That's not a fair or accurate comment at all.  Did he say back then that they weren't going to make a $30 echo dot back or did he specifically say they weren't going to make a $100 smart speaker?  Either way I'm sure his comment was about the principle not the price, and on that he gets Apple.

    Besides which, if his comment back then was "they're not going to make a $30 echo dot" then his comment was accurate then and is accurate now.  The Echo Dot is a cheap piece of junk compared to everything Apple makes.  Your description in your other comment of what they might make for maybe $50 (a non-music centered Siri-only device) is a reasonable idea but that's not what the Echo Dot is.

    Also worth considering:  Apple almost never come out of the gate with the low-end model.  They almost always introduce a new product category with the high end, or perhaps the mid-range (and then expand to the "max" or plus versions as they also expand down). Releasing the fancy expensive HP first - for the early adopters who don't mind spending money on the fancy new tech - and then grow the range for more of the masses, is nearly always their MO. Classic example: expensive iPod -> cheaper iPod Mini -> cheaper iPod nano -> cheaper iPod shuffle.  That's what they've done here. And so this is the mini.  Perhaps a Nano is coming in another couple of years.  Quote me when it happens, I'll wager it'll still be $50 not $30 and it won't be anything like the quality-compromising Dot.

    Mind you... why it took them this many years to get this far with the HomePod range is a bit bizarre, unless there were doubts as to whether entering this market was worthwhile and so it was borderline to expand the range or kill it for a while.  I for one was borderline for a long time to get one or not.  I tried one and the sound blew me away, but it wasn't worth $350 to me, or even the $300 it later came down to.  I took it back, and only bought one (well, two actually) when Best Buy had them for $200.  It was worth that to me.  This mini definitely tips the scales, and is a great deal if the sound is any good.  I'll probably fill my house with a bunch of them now.


    No new HomePods though? Lackluster event. Apple falling behind allowed Amazon to flood the market and pretend it was their idea. HomeKit is becoming a joke. Apple is at the point where they may need to acquire a company like Ring.
    LOL - guess maybe you didn't realize Ring is owned by Amazon?!?!?
    Detnatoravon b7
  • Reply 51 of 61
    I wonder if the HomePod mini can be set up with an iPad or does it have to be a phone?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 52 of 61
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,135member
    AppleZulu said:
    dewme said:
    Take THAT, Alexa!
    The HomePod Mini is certainly a direct competitor to the standard Echo, but for non-audiophile use cases the lower-end Echo Dot still has a huge following, and will continue to sell very well. If Amazon would put the new spherical Dot with the embedded clock on sale during Prime days I'd buy one immediately because I need an unobtrusive clock in my family room, and it also integrates well into my security system.

    The family of Echo devices have had intercom and announcement capability for a couple of years (at least) and the Echo devices with screens, the Echo Spot and the three Echo Shows (5", 8", and 10") devices link seamlessly with Ring cameras. The Dot, standard Echo, and Studio integrate with Ring Alarm to provide glass breakage detection as well as being listeners for your smoke and CO alarms. I take no shame in taking advantage of Amazon's willingness to sell these buggers at a loss. The fact that I can access Apple Music, podcasts, and streaming radio (like NPR) on all of my Echo devices is a really big deal.

    I really enjoy my HomePod and if I had a need for another smart speaker somewhere on my property I would buy the HomePod Mini in a heartbeat. Apple's implementation of the intercom functionality will no doubt be better than Amazon's, which it should be considering how long they've had to sample the competition. The main issue I have right now is that nearly every room in my house, including the garage, laundry room, basement, and main bathroom already has a smart speaker. I recently acquired an Echo Studio for free and I struggled to find a place to put it where it alone would answer queries. By the way, the HomePod sounds better than the Echo Studio, but the Studio is not far behind.

    The choice of "smart" devices for my home was largely defined by timing and availability. At the time I built out my system Apple was far behind with HomeKit. They are catching up, but certainly not at a breakneck pace. I'm into the Amazon and Ring around smart home devices, home automation, and security ecosystem pretty deep, about as deep as I'm into the Apple ecosystem with just about everything Apple does from iPhones, Macs, all the cloud services, etc. I'm totally okay with this. Having this heterogeneity is a good thing in my case because: 1) each ecosystem is very well integrated within its own sphere of influence, 2) the two systems are actually nicely, i.e., loosely, coupled by virtue of client access from iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Windows, and 3) the likelihood of a single point failure is somewhat reduced. If Apple's or Amazon's servers go down individually, I'm not going to lose everything. 

    The opportunity for winner-take-all exclusivity between Apple and Amazon has long passed, at least for me. I'm very content to keep gleaning the best from both ecosystems. Nothing thrills me more than seeing Apple and Amazon getting along very nicely.

    For those of us who are disinclined to allow Amazon access to an open microphone in our home, HomeKit is the clear choice. I’d rather wait for Apple to build out their ecosystem properly and securely than have Amazon try to sell me toilet paper or toothpaste when Alexa hears me go into the bathroom. The $99 HomePod mini is just the thing to get things going for HomeKit. With the intercom feature, a lot of these will soon be distributed throughout people’s homes, making Siri commands for HomeKit devices a more convenient and viable thing. 
    Is there any credible evidence of any smart speaker sending unqualified (without trigger phrase) audio recordings upstream? 
  • Reply 53 of 61
    Apple at its "Hi, Speed" keynote event on Tuesday unveiled a new lower-cost smart speaker dubbed the HomePod mini, which will retail for $99.

    HomePod Mini with iPhone 12
    HomePod Mini with iPhone 12


    The device shares a design similar to the standard HomePod, but is spherical and less expensive. Its design also includes a backlit touch surface on the top with playback controls. That surface will also glow when Siri is invoked.

    Although it's smaller, the HomePod mini still places a similar emphasis on high-quality playback with new "computational audio" features and audio hardware. It doesn't quite the same bill of materials as HomePod, but it still features a full-range dynamic driver and two passive radiators for advanced bass response. It also packs an acoustic waveguide to provide clear, 360-degree audio playback.

    The onboard Apple S5 chip provides the computational audio features, which will include complex tuning models that allow the speaker to intelligently optimize both loudness and dynamic range.

    The HomePod mini's internal components. Credit: Apple
    The HomePod mini's internal components. Credit: Apple


    One of the most significant new additions to the HomePod mini is a new feature that will allow it to act as an Ultra Wideband base station to precisely locate U1-equipped devices, like the iPhone and Apple Watch Series 6.

    Apple says that HomePod mini will be receiving a "magical" Handoff experience. A HomePod mini will understand when an iPhone is nearby, and will provide audio, visual, and haptic feedback so it feels like two Apple devices are actually physically connected.

    But it's the price that stands out as the most attractive feature of the HomePod mini, and could allow Apple to better compete with the likes of rivals like Amazon and Google. Apple's smart speaker competitors all offer entry-level devices at prices far below HomePod's $299 price tag. Additionally, Apple notes that HomePod mini will be compatible with third-party streaming services like Amazon Music and Pandora.

    The price point will also bolster users who would like to add several pairs around their home for surround-sound audio. In fact, HomePod mini will also be able to detect other HomePod models nearby and intelligently become a stereo pair.

    Alongside HomePod mini, Apple also announced new Siri features that will make the digital assistant much more responsive and intelligent. For example, Siri will be able to identify different speakers and carry out contextual actions based on who is making a request. It also supports the new Intercom feature introduced on Tuesday.

    New Handoff features will provide haptic, audio, and visual feedback. Credit: Apple
    New Handoff features will provide haptic, audio, and visual feedback. Credit: Apple


    Apple also says that it produces HomePod mini with sustainability in mind. It uses mostly recycled materials, and uses power-efficient components and software that can cut down on energy expenditure.

    Rumors of a lower-cost HomePod have surfaced consistently since 2018. Reportedly, Apple was mulling a cheaper home audio device as a way to boost lackluster sales and market share. Most recently, an accurate leaker predicted that Apple would forego a successor to the HomePod and would instead just release the HomePod mini at its Oct. 13 "Hi, Speed" event.

    The HomePod mini joins a wave of Apple devices that have gotten lower in cost, a list that also includes the iPhone SE and the $999 MacBook Air.

    HomePod mini will retail for $99 and will become available for preorder on Nov. 6. The smart speaker will start shipping out to customers the week of Nov. 16.
    Note how Spotify was missing in their presentation.
  • Reply 54 of 61
    And not one pic showing the HomePod Mini with the power adapter and cable attached...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 55 of 61
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,947member
    hentaiboy said:
    I wonder if you can do Intercom between households?
    I would expect so, and if not immediately then soon via an update. I intercom between work and home on my smartspeakers on a somewhat regular basis, at least once a week or so. You know someone is home but watching TV or doing laundry or whatever and not hearing/answering calls, so having a "broadcast" feature can be a big assist. 
    edited October 2020
  • Reply 56 of 61
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,242member
    If I already have 1 HomePod, can I pair it with a HomePod mini to get the stereo? Or does it absolutely have to be 2 HomePod mini together?  :|

    Why would you ever want to use two different speakers in stereo?! It would sound completely out of balance and weird.
    razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 57 of 61
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,242member
    Beats said:

    No new HomePods though? Lackluster event. Apple falling behind allowed Amazon to flood the market and pretend it was their idea. HomeKit is becoming a joke. Apple is at the point where they may need to acquire a company like Ring.

    You realize Ring is owned by Amazon, right? Not happening.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 58 of 61
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,947member
    ceedubb said:
    And not one pic showing the HomePod Mini with the power adapter and cable attached...
    That's advertising. Companies try to make products look more attractive in ads than they are in real life. Not at all unusual. 
    razorpit
  • Reply 59 of 61
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    ceedubb said:
    And not one pic showing the HomePod Mini with the power adapter and cable attached...
    You might be on to something! Just a quick check and they do the same thing with the original HomePod, Mac Pro, iMac, Mac mini, alert the NYT!  :D
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 60 of 61
    Apple at its "Hi, Speed" keynote event on Tuesday unveiled a new lower-cost smart speaker dubbed the HomePod mini, which will retail for $99.

    HomePod Mini with iPhone 12
    HomePod Mini with iPhone 12


    The device shares a design similar to the standard HomePod, but is spherical and less expensive. Its design also includes a backlit touch surface on the top with playback controls. That surface will also glow when Siri is invoked.

    Although it's smaller, the HomePod mini still places a similar emphasis on high-quality playback with new "computational audio" features and audio hardware. It doesn't quite the same bill of materials as HomePod, but it still features a full-range dynamic driver and two passive radiators for advanced bass response. It also packs an acoustic waveguide to provide clear, 360-degree audio playback.

    The onboard Apple S5 chip provides the computational audio features, which will include complex tuning models that allow the speaker to intelligently optimize both loudness and dynamic range.

    The HomePod mini's internal components. Credit: Apple
    The HomePod mini's internal components. Credit: Apple


    One of the most significant new additions to the HomePod mini is a new feature that will allow it to act as an Ultra Wideband base station to precisely locate U1-equipped devices, like the iPhone and Apple Watch Series 6.

    Apple says that HomePod mini will be receiving a "magical" Handoff experience. A HomePod mini will understand when an iPhone is nearby, and will provide audio, visual, and haptic feedback so it feels like two Apple devices are actually physically connected.

    But it's the price that stands out as the most attractive feature of the HomePod mini, and could allow Apple to better compete with the likes of rivals like Amazon and Google. Apple's smart speaker competitors all offer entry-level devices at prices far below HomePod's $299 price tag. Additionally, Apple notes that HomePod mini will be compatible with third-party streaming services like Amazon Music and Pandora.

    The price point will also bolster users who would like to add several pairs around their home for surround-sound audio. In fact, HomePod mini will also be able to detect other HomePod models nearby and intelligently become a stereo pair.

    Alongside HomePod mini, Apple also announced new Siri features that will make the digital assistant much more responsive and intelligent. For example, Siri will be able to identify different speakers and carry out contextual actions based on who is making a request. It also supports the new Intercom feature introduced on Tuesday.

    New Handoff features will provide haptic, audio, and visual feedback. Credit: Apple
    New Handoff features will provide haptic, audio, and visual feedback. Credit: Apple


    Apple also says that it produces HomePod mini with sustainability in mind. It uses mostly recycled materials, and uses power-efficient components and software that can cut down on energy expenditure.

    Rumors of a lower-cost HomePod have surfaced consistently since 2018. Reportedly, Apple was mulling a cheaper home audio device as a way to boost lackluster sales and market share. Most recently, an accurate leaker predicted that Apple would forego a successor to the HomePod and would instead just release the HomePod mini at its Oct. 13 "Hi, Speed" event.

    The HomePod mini joins a wave of Apple devices that have gotten lower in cost, a list that also includes the iPhone SE and the $999 MacBook Air.

    HomePod mini will retail for $99 and will become available for preorder on Nov. 6. The smart speaker will start shipping out to customers the week of Nov. 16.
    Note how Spotify was missing in their presentation.
    No it wasn't.  It was on the "coming soon" list.
    watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.