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New HomePod breathes new life into Apple’s smart home aspirations

Thursday January 19, 2023. 09:03 PM , from Mac Daily News
Apple on Wednesday announced HomePod (2nd generation), a powerful new smart speaker that delivers next-level acoustics in a gorgeous, iconic design for just $299. Packed with Apple innovations and Siri intelligence, HomePod offers advanced computational audio for a groundbreaking listening experience, including support for immersive Spatial Audio tracks.
Apple’s new 2nd generation HomePod
With convenient new ways to manage everyday tasks and control the smart home, users can now create smart home automations using Siri, get notified when a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm is detected in their home, and check temperature and humidity in a room — all hands-free.
Brenda Stolyar for Wired:

The second-generation HomePod breathes new life into the company’s smart home aspirations, boasting a new processor and improved sound quality, along with a temperature and humidity sensor, simpler smart home automation, and support for Matter—the standard that aims to make all smart home devices interoperable.
However, this smart speaker is nearly as expensive as the original. Sure, it’s $50 less, but it still costs $299. At least there’s still the HomePod Mini for $99.
As for those improved smart home features, you’ll now be able to use your HomePod to listen for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms using its Sound Recognition feature (originally launched with iOS 14). Weirdly, this won’t be available at launch but will make its way to the speaker via a software update in June. If the HomePod detects these sounds, it’ll send a notification to your iPhone immediately…
Meanwhile, with the new temperature and humidity sensor, the speaker can measure indoor environments… You can use this data to set automation to, for example, turn the AC on or shut the blinds when a room reaches a certain temperature.

MacDailyNews Take: As owners of multiple HomePods (1st gen.), $299 is not expensive for what you get – and the 2nd generation HomePod offers even more features and, we assume comparable sound quality to the excellent original.
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