Apple’s HomePod all-in-one solution for home audio just got smarter

The powerful second-generation Apple HomePod is a smart speaker that can read the room as well as recognise up to six different voices

Apple HomePod second generation
(Image credit: Apple)

With many homes now equipped with smart devices and speakers, the second generation of the Apple HomePod was bound to kick things up a notch. Unveiled earlier this month, version 2.0 packs a powerful punch with next-level acoustics, enhanced Siri capabilities and several other innovations in a new and improved, sleek and unobtrusive design. 

Apple HomePod, the second generation

Hand holding phone near Apple HomePod second generation

(Image credit: Apple)

The listening experience, in all its shapes and forms, is at the heart of the new HomePod. A custom-engineered high excursion woofer works in tandem with a built-in base-EQ mic, a beamforming array of five tweeters situated around the base of the speaker, and a powerful motor to deliver an all-encompassing acoustic experience in a variety of settings. 

Apple HomePod second generation, in white and in black

(Image credit: Apple)

The speaker’s S7 chip also gives it system-sensing technology that allows it to recognise sound reflections from the surrounding surfaces and adapt in real time. Whether placed against a wall or sitting on a table in the centre of a room, the HomePod can calibrate and deliver the sounds that it’s playing accordingly. Encased in a seamless, transparent mesh fabric and paired with a backlit touch surface that illuminates when in operation, the new HomePod strikes a happy balance of fading into the domestic background while also possessing a design merit and holding its own.

Apple HomePod second generation in black on black background

(Image credit: Apple)

‘Leveraging our audio expertise and innovations, the new HomePod delivers rich, deep bass, natural mid-range, and clear, detailed highs,’ says Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. ‘With the popularity of HomePod mini, we’ve seen growing interest in even more powerful acoustics achievable in a larger HomePod.’

Two Apple HomePods set either side of a TV screen

(Image credit: Apple)

The magic really begins when two (or more) HomePods are used in unison. Matched as a stereo pair in the same space, the audio experience goes from great to cinematic. If multiple units are placed in multiple rooms, controlling sound play via Siri not only becomes seamless, but allows the units to be used as an intercom system as well. 

The HomePod can be used as a natural extension of the iPhone; playing music or a favourite podcast and answering phone calls can all be done or transferred from handheld device to speaker. It also recognises up to six voices, so that each user in the home is able to tap into the personalised preferences, such as playlists, reminders and calendar events, already set up on their other devices. 

Best of all may be the home safety features that are now possible with the HomePod’s sound recognition capabilities. From being able to detect smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and alert users via notifications, to possessing built-in temperature and humidity sensors that can help kick-start other smart home automations, such as turning the fan on when it gets too hot, the HomePod proves that it is more than just a pretty speaker.

Apple HomePod, £299,

Pei-Ru Keh is a former US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru held various titles at Wallpaper* between 2007 and 2023. She reports on design, tech, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru took a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars, actively seeking out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.