Despite Apple discontinuing the HomePod in 2021, the company has surprisingly released the HomePod 2nd Generation. While it bears a striking resemblance to the original model, this new iteration houses several internal enhancements, such as a unique tweeter configuration and added sensors.
This advanced HomePod can synchronize with a second device for stereo sound and, coupled with the latest Apple TV 4K, can serve as the hub for your home theater system. However, unlocking these features requires purchasing three Apple devices, which could cost as much as a high-end soundbar. While the HomePod delivers impressive standalone performance, fully realizing its potential might be an expensive proposition for most consumers
Exterior Design and Build Quality
The HomePod 2 preserves the original’s cylindrical form factor, appearing like a mesh-wrapped piece of luxury fruit. The design nuances are subtle – the new smart speaker is just 0.2 inches shorter. The top now features a marginally smaller touchscreen showcasing animations across the entire surface instead of a small circle. The touchscreen is now home to permanent volume buttons, unlike the predecessor’s disappearing virtual controls.
A welcome change in the design is the removable power cable. This small but significant feature eliminates worries about discarding or replacing the costly $299 unit because of a damaged power cord. Plus, it provides the flexibility to substitute the original power cable with any figure-8 cable.
Internal Redesign: Tweeters and Sensors
Beneath the crisscrossed mesh cover, Apple has remodeled the speaker’s architecture with a top-placed woofer and five tweeters below, oriented to direct sound more efficiently. The reduced number of tweeters also accommodates a new pair of temperature and humidity sensors.
The HomePod 2 features four microphones that collaborate with the inbuilt S7 chip to calibrate the speaker’s sound output for optimal performance. These microphones also enable users to activate Siri, even from across the room when the speaker is playing at a high volume.
Audio Quality: Bass and Beyond
The HomePod 2 is a delight for bass enthusiasts, but it ensures the lower frequency sounds don’t overshadow the other tones. It’s engineered to deliver sound omnidirectionally and maintains high-quality audio regardless of the listener’s or the speaker’s position in the room.
One area where the HomePod 2 outshines is when playing Dolby Atmos music tuned for spatial audio. This feature generates distinct separations in sound layers, making the music feel more full-bodied and harmonious.
Benefits of the Apple Ecosystem
Despite these limitations, users who are invested in the Apple ecosystem will find the HomePod 2 delivers enhanced performance when paired with a second unit or used as part of a home theater setup with an Apple TV 2nd or 3rd Generation. This configuration provides an excellent audio experience for music, movies, and games. However, it comes at a considerable cost.
Conclusion: An Expensive Yet Compelling Proposition
Although the HomePod 2’s home theater experience is very Apple-centric, it offers flexibility and high-quality audio performance. Available for $299 at Best Buy and Apple, the HomePod 2 boasts remarkable sound quality, augmented by spatial audio and Dolby Atmos music.
The steep price is compensated by its audio performance, making it a tempting purchase. Opting for a complete Apple-themed home theater with an additional HomePod 2 and Apple TV 4K promises an enhanced experience for music, movies, and games, but the substantial initial investment and limited non-Apple support might be a caveat for some potential buyers.