Indian homes are slowly warming up to smart speakers and the experience now goes well beyond just listening to music. Apple has heard them right with its affordable HomePod mini.
The Rs 9,900 device in white and space grey colours works effortlessly with iPhone to hand off music, answer calls or deliver personalised listening suggestions — elevates the sound from Apple TV, plays music from a Mac and so much more.
The best part? Buy two and you will have a never-heard-before experience at home in such a small form factor.
By placing two HomePod mini speakers in a single room, a stereo pair can be created for a wide soundstage, filling the space with rich, enveloping sound.
Multiple HomePod mini speakers work together to stream music or podcasts to multiple rooms, all in perfect sync and the sound quality is superb — way better than what Amazon Echo or Google Home offer.
By placing two mini speakers in a single room, you can create a stereo pair with just one command: Hey Siri, play it everywhere and choose Stereo Pair mode in the HomePod app for a wide soundstage, filling the space with rich, enveloping sound.
Design-wise, HomePod mini utilises 99 per cent recycled rare earth elements, with the neodymium magnet in the speaker driver utilising 100 per cent recycled rare earth elements.
The seamless mesh fabric is made with more than 90 per cent recycled plastic, and all of the packaging wood fibres are from responsibly managed forests or recycled sources. HomePod mini is environment-friendly — free of mercury, brominated flame retardants, PVC and beryllium.
The smart speaker is designed to be efficient in its low-power mode, where the majority of time is spent. The result is that HomePod mini is energy efficient right out of the box.
Let us explore sound a bit deeper.
To achieve big sound out of such a compact design, the Apple S5 chip in HomePod mini works with advanced software to analyse the unique characteristics of the music.
It applies complex tuning models to optimise loudness, adjust the dynamic range, and control the movement of the driver and passive radiators in real time.
Be it K-Pop, Hindustani classical or evening ghazals, the two paired HomePod Mini — one in the kitchen and the other in the living room — will give you consistent and immersive sound experience.
The Apple-engineered full-range driver enables deep bass and crisp high frequencies.
Like its big brother HomePod, the mini features an Apple-designed acoustic waveguide to direct the flow of sound down and out toward the bottom of the speaker for an immersive 360-degree audio experience.
A three-microphone array listens for "Hey Siri," and a fourth inward-facing microphone helps isolate sound coming from the speaker to improve voice detection when music is playing.
Siri also offers users a personal update for a quick snapshot of your day.
With a single request, ask Siri "What's my update?" to hear the latest news, weather, traffic, reminders and calendar appointments.
The device works effortlessly with Apple devices.
When listening to music on iPhone, simply bring the device close to mini and you can hear the music without missing a beat.
Furthermore, if you are a smart home lover, HomePod mini makes controlling smart home accessories easier than ever with simple voice commands for Siri to turn off the lights, change the temperature, lock the doors, or set a scene.
There is a new Intercom feature that offers a quick way for family members to connect with each other at home.
One person can send an Intercom message from one HomePod to another and their voice will automatically play on the designated HomePod speaker. Intercom works with iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and AirPods.
You can also use ambient sounds, like rain or a stream for that perfect background noise to focus, relax or fall asleep.
Siri can set a sleep timer so the sounds automatically stop playing.
You can also set up music alarms that will wake you up to a favourite song, playlist or radio station from Apple Music.
Conclusion: Next time when you think of a smart speaker, give yourself two as it takes two to tango!
These minions in a beautiful compact design will redefine the way you communicate with smart home speakers — heralding a smart home experience that offers comfort and convenience without complexity.