Apple Explains Why HomePod Was Released Again, Wi-Fi 4 Limitation, and More
Apple vice president of hardware engineering Matthew Costello and product marketing employee Alice Chan recently spoke with Men’s Journal and TechCrunch about the new second-generation HomePod in wide-ranging interviews on the top smart speaker.
Apple discontinued the original full-size HomePod in March 2021 after multiple reports indicated lackluster sales of the speaker, but Chan told Men’s Journal that Apple has since “heard more interest than ever in the acoustics of a bigger, richer speaker,” leading the company to launch another, bigger HomePod.
The new HomePod looks virtually identical to the original, though it’s 0.2 inches shorter and has a larger edge-to-edge LED touchscreen on top. Costello told TechCrunch that Apple teams “really like” this shape and form for the full-size HomePod and “were able to create a wonderful system within this structure.”
Costello explained why the new HomePod is limited to the older Wi-Fi 4 standard, compared to Wi-Fi 6 on other modern Apple devices:
“HomePod has Wi-Fi 4 connectivity that allows us to target exactly what works best across the system,” Costello told TechCrunch, “making sure Siri requests are responsive and ensuring a consistent experience for everything you listen to, controlling your smart home accessories and more, all while being energy efficient.”
He also explained the inability to pair a new HomePod with an original HomePod:
“When creating a stereo pair, it’s important that the audio characteristics match for an optimal and balanced experience,” Costello says of the lack of compatibility. “The new HomePod delivers the immersive, room-filling sound that users love – with even more detail, clarity and layers than the original HomePod – so we wanted the acoustic imaging to be as pure and cohesive as possible. from generation to generation. The principle of having matching audio characteristics in a stereo pair applies to HomePod mini, original HomePod, and new HomePod.”
Apple told both outlets that the HomePod mini was “popular,” but offered no additional details or comment on the future of the smaller speaker.
In his interview with Men’s Journal, Costello provides additional details on the new HomePod’s hardware and technologies, including the four-inch high-excursion woofer, tweeters, beamforming microphones, room-sensing capabilities, and more. .
The new HomePod is available for pre-order for $299 and will launch this Friday in the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, Japan, Australia and select other countries. . Check out our HomePod review roundup for a hands-on look at the speaker, which many reviewers found to have much of the same sound quality as the original.