The HomePod mini's secret sensor could mean Apple isn't making a new one

Apple was clearly thinking long term when it made the HomePod mini. And that means there's no rush to make another

Apple HomePod Mini
(Image credit: Apple)

With last week's launch of the second generation HomePod – the big one – we also discovered that the HomePod mini was keeping something secret. Apple's smaller smart speaker turns out to have the same sensor as the new HomePod, with the ability to monitor temperature and humidity.

As my colleague Mat wrote, "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." And it also means Apple doesn't need to update its smaller smart speaker any time soon.

According (opens in new tab) to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple isn't currently working on a replacement for the HomePod mini – but it may be working on software updates instead. I hope he's right.

Why Apple doesn't need to fix the HomePod mini hardware

I have several HomePods mini as well as a pair of first generation HomePods, and as hardware they're brilliant little things. They sound much bigger and much more expensive than they are, and the ability to run multi-room audio is excellent.

However, they're not perfect. Siri in particular is falling far behind rival voice assistants, and its performance on my smart speakers is very, very laggy and sometimes completely unresponsive. Alexa does a much better job of understanding my Scots accent, and of recognising the name of my smart home devices too. And it's miles ahead when it comes to answering my kids' various queries.

According to Gurman, after reintroducing the big HomePods Apple's next step is to make improvements to Siri. I think for most of us that matters more than making new hardware: a Siri that takes five attempts to respond to "turn the dining table light on" is a Siri that still needs some work.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).