Hands-On With Apple's Second-Generation HomePod
Today is the official launch day for the second-generation HomePod that was introduced in January, and we picked one up to compare it to the original HomePod that Apple discontinued in 2021.
Design wise, the second-generation HomePod looks a lot like the first-generation model, featuring the same rounded design and acoustic mesh fabric. It's ever so slightly shorter, and the main external change is the swap to a new recessed edge-to-edge touch display.
The display makes a notable aesthetic difference as it feels more integrated into the speaker, but it has the same general function as the display on the original HomePod. It lights up and changes with Siri requests, and various tap gestures can be used for play/pause, volume adjustments, and swapping songs.
With the S7 chip (which is an Apple Watch SoC), Siri activates quicker on the new HomePod model, but you probably won't notice much else in terms of performance differences. As for sound quality, it's remarkably similar to the original HomePod even though Apple has cut down on the number of tweeters. There are five beamforming tweeters inside, down from seven tweeters, and there are also just four microphones instead of six. Despite that, the new HomePod seems to respond just as quickly to Siri commands.
Apple says that it remade the HomePod after discontinuing the first model because it started seeing customer interest for the "acoustics of a richer larger speaker" and because the HomePod team loves the shape and form factor of the original.
For those who want something that outperforms the HomePod mini, the second-generation HomePod is worth picking up, and Apple has priced it at $299, the same price as the former HomePod before it was discontinued.