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When Apple introducedon its , it introduced a litany of next-level features that aim to compete with Google Home / Nest Audio and Amazon’s family of Echo speakers.
Not just compact ($ 262 at Back Market) and rival speakers are missing, like automatically pairing two HomePod minis in the same room.make cheaper than , it also includes a number of new features including the full size HomePod
We have not got a HomePod Mini yet, and it will not be available for pre-order until November 6 (devices will be shipped and sold on November 16), but here is a look at the biggest new features that Apple announced, and how you use them.
Automatically connect two HomePods for stereo sound
One of the disadvantages of using a smart speaker is that you lose the three-dimensional sound you get from a stereo, which separates music into two channels (surround sound uses even more) and plays sound at different levels on opposite speakers. With other smart speakers, you can pair them in their respective apps, but Apple says that when you place two HomePod minis in the same room, the speakers will recognize each other and automatically separate in the left and right channels to create a stereo pair.
How to use it: If you pick up two of Apple’s newest smart speakers (or are lucky enough to get them as holiday gifts), you can place them on a bookshelf, desk, or desk and the speakers sense each other’s presence and ask if you want to connect them in stereo.
Why it’s cool: Smart speaker settings are notoriously confusing and difficult to navigate, especially when setting up stereo pairing. It does not take less than, for example. This way can be much more streamlined.
Intercom sends your messages on HomePod Mini and more
HomePod Mini’s new intercom feature no longer means screaming to announce dinner. Instead, get everyone’s attention by sending a message that is played on HomePods and displayed as a push notification iOS units scattered throughout the house.
How it works: Record a message on a HomePod, iPhone ($ 699 on Amazon), iPad ($ 260 at Back Market) or Mac, and Siri will play it on all your HomePods as well as household members’ AirPods ($ 125 on Amazon) and sends a push notification to household iOS devices and Macs.
How to use it: Say “Hi Siri, tell everyone …”, then include the message you want to send across the house.
Why it’s cool: Google Home has a similar featureand , but Apple’s Intercom feature goes beyond smart home devices and pings the devices that people also pay the most attention to: their phones and tablets.
Presence detection connects your HomePod Mini and your phone automatically
Later this year, Apple says that when you take a compatible iPhone next to a HomePod Mini, you will be able to “emit” music with visual, audio and haptic (vibration) signals that create a stronger sense of connection between the devices.
How it works: The HomePod Mini has the sameApple is part of the iPhone 11 and 12 series, which theoretically allows the devices to feel the distance between each other more accurately than other technologies such as Bluetooth.
How to use it: Let’s say you’re listening to a playlist on AirPods connected to your iPhone but you want to play the music out loud on a HomePod Mini. You switch to the HomePod Mini, unlock your phone and follow the instructions to “wind” the music to the smart speaker, complete with animations, sounds and vibrations to confirm the transaction.
Why it’s cool: Ultra-wideband technology is fairly new, and device manufacturers have just begun to scrape the possibilities.
For more Apple tips and tricks, check it out, and .