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Apple introduces a brand new HomePod with better sound and smarts

Apple has resurrected the larger HomePod with a second-generation version that includes better sound, as well as better intelligence and computing smarts. The new HomePod retails for $299 and pre-orders kick off today, with in-store availability and shipping beginning in the U.S. and select other markets on Friday, February 3.

Apple’s new HomePod includes two color options – a white version as wells “Midnight,” a color they’ve favored over a standard black option on most recent product releases, including the M2 MacBook Air. We have yet to see this on the HomePod in person, but if other examples from Apple are any indication, it’s a very dark blue that basically resembles black in most viewing conditions.

This new HomePod is wrapped in an “acoustically transparent mesh fabric,” and also includes support for Siri voice control as well as Apple’s own Spatial Audio technology for immersive sound reproduction. Users can also now create Siri smart home automations entirely on the HomePod using just their voice.

Inside, the HomePod is powered by the S7 chip – the same processor found in the Apple Watch Series 7. That should give it a big performance upgrade over the OG HomePod, which contained an Apple A8, the chip that powered the last iPod touch as well as the iPad mini 4 and iPhone 6.

The HomePod includes room-sensing technology to adapt its sound profile depending on its surroundings, and it can also be stereo-paired with another HomePod for improved sound. You can use them with an Apple TV 4K and eARC for sound system integration, and you can also use them as intercoms throughout the house if you have more than one.

Apple also notes that the updated HomePod includes Matter support and can act as a home hub for Apple’s HomeKit smart home system.

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