Apple revamped its entire smartphone lineup with the iPhone 12 series last month. The stage was also shared by the new HomePod Mini, a smaller and more affordable version of the smart speaker.
The Apple HomePod Mini is priced at Rs 9,900 in India and is available in White and Space Grey colour variants. Pre-orders are now open on Apple’s website, with deliveries slated for November 16. Fast, free, contactless delivery will be included. Two years of AppleCare+ warranty can also be purchased for Rs 1,600.
Apple says that the new speaker can act as the "brain of your smart home" while upholding privacy and security. Siri also learns a few more tricks such as voice recognition and sending messages to other devices at home like an intercom.
Multiple mini-speakers can be paired together to create a stereo effect as well. The HomePod Mini also contains the Apple S5 chip, which Apple says can "analyze the unique characteristics of the music and apply complex tuning models to optimize loudness, adjust the dynamic range, and control the movement of the driver and passive radiators in real-time".
As for the design, it has a cute round form factor with a flat top and bottom. There’s a small display on the top that can show music waveforms, status and volume controls. It will light up when the speaker is interacted with. Apple says the HomePod mini "utilizes 99% recycled rare earth elements, with the neodymium magnet in the speaker driver utilizing 100% recycled rare earth elements". Even the mesh fabric is made of recycled plastic.
For communicating with the speaker, there are three microphones for voice commands. An inward-facing microphone should help to isolate sound coming from the speaker, which enables improved voice detection when you're playing music. Sadly, support for third-party music streaming apps seems to be lacking, with no luck for Spotify and Tidal users. Amazon Music and Pandora will be your alternatives.
Since it’s a smart speaker, the Apple HomePod Mini can also manage notifications, control your appliances, set reminders, do web searches, etc.