The new second-generation HomePod revealed a new sensor that reads both temperature and humidity, but the really interesting part is that the HomePod mini has the same sensor. Until now that sensor has been inactive, hidden like a sleeper cell, waiting for its call. Now, is its time and with the upcoming OS 16.3, it will spring into action.
The sensor is designed to provide data for automation of other smart devices; if the temperature is too cold it could turn on a heater, too hot and it could turn on a fan. If it's too humid it could activate a dehumidifier, and so on. This really brings the HomePod (and HomePod mini) to the centre of your smart home system and gives more credence to the Apple Home system.
While the HomePod mini doesn't come with Matter connectivity as standard it can now be used to perform more tasks. The perfect set-up for me would be to have the new HomePod as my main hub in the living room – or ideally two as my cinema sound – and then HomePod minis in the other rooms in the house. Knowing the mini can also check temperature and humidity means it can check if the bedroom is nice and cosy before going to bed, or even that the washing is drying nicely.
You can now pick up a HomePod mini for under £90. Though that's not quite the bargain of the Amazon Echo Dot, if you are already an Apple user for your phone, laptop and tablets, it means you can stick to a single ecosystem.