After almost two years without HomePod, Apple recently announced the HomePod (2nd generation), its second attempt at a full-featured, full-bodied smart speaker. But, the original Woofer received mixed reviews, and was dropped by Apple in 2021. While the two look similar, there are a lot of changes inside. What are they, what’s new and improved? Let’s compare the two speakers and find out what’s different and which one is better between the new second generation and the original.

Slight change from the design of the HomePod 2nd generation to that of the HomePod

In terms of design, the original and the 2nd generation HomePod share almost the same design at a vague glance.  With a mesh exterior coupled with slight changes. For example, we have the bright Siri animations that now span the entire top surface of the 2nd generation HomePod. Similarly, the top touchscreen, while visually similar to the 1st generation, is now recessed slightly into the mesh.

In addition, the non-detachable power cable that powered the 1st generation Apple woofer is now replaced with a fabric braided cable, like the one found on the HomePod mini. Not to mention the new, much darker Midnight color, which replaces the Space Grey variant. Aside from these design changes, most of the upgrades remain internal, allowing the new Apple Speaker to easily integrate with your existing HomePod setup.

The Apple HomePod 2nd generation with better sound quality?

The new HomePod still has a large 4-inch high excursion woofer for the main speaker like the original. So the new Apple speaker has two fewer tweeters than the original, but serves the same purpose of providing room-filling sound through background noise and certain frequencies. Both the new and old HomePod use microphones to understand the speaker’s placement in a room and adjust the sound accordingly.

The HomePod (2nd generation) also features an all-new system sensor that runs complex tuning models in real time to preserve dynamic range and maximize acoustic performance. In addition, the new HomePod improves computational audio with the new chipset.

Apple HomePod and HomePod 2nd generation features

There’s a whole bunch of new stuff, but first, there’s a new chipset inside (the S7 chip, the same chip that powers the Watch Series 7). The other new feature that opens up a lot of possibilities for the HomePod is Matter connectivity.

The HomePod (2nd generation) brings back some of the beloved features of the original HomePod, such as Spatial Audio, the ability to use stereo setup and multiroom audio. In addition, it still has the ability to be paired with an Apple TV 4K to output audio from the TV.

In addition to Matter, there is HomeKit support and control of compatible smart home devices. And no questions asked, you do have the ability to talk with Siri.

The availability of Apple speakers

The original HomePod was initially available for $350 before receiving a $50 price cut in 2019, nearly a year after its launch. Meanwhile, the HomePod (2nd Gen), with its new features and Matter compatibility, is available for $299. That puts the new HomePod next to the price of the last generation if you factor in the price drop.

While the price of the new one is comparable to the previous generation, its lower price has its drawbacks. In an attempt to reduce the cost of the new HomePod, Apple has removed some tweeters and beam forming microphones. This is a downgrade from the previous generation.

A better technological upgrade to the 2nd generation HomePod

Technologically, the 2nd generation HomePod is equipped with Apple’s S7 chip, which also powers the Apple Watch Series 7. According to Apple, this chip enables advanced audio processing, allowing the HomePod to read sound reflections from surrounding objects and surfaces to determine its position and calibrate audio playback in real time for an enhanced spatial audio experience.

Unlike the 1st generation, the new HomePod also supports the Ultra Wideband technology found on the HomePod mini. This means you can transfer calls and playing songs or podcasts from any U1-compatible iPhone or iPad to the HomePod when the two devices are in close proximity. Like its predecessor, the new Apple Speaker also supports AirPlay 2 for multi-room playback, allowing you to sync multiple HomePods and play audio tracks simultaneously.

So if you want a new speaker within the Apple ecosystem that’s smart and connects to a whole bunch of smart home devices, the HomePod (2nd generation) is for you. Plus, you’ll be safe in the future when Matter delivers on its promise to create an interoperable ecosystem.

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