Tuesday, October 13, 2020

HomePod mini

Apple (MacRumors, Hacker News):

Apple today unveiled HomePod mini, the newest addition to the HomePod family that delivers impressive sound, the intelligence of Siri to get things done, and a smart home experience that offers comfort and convenience without complexity. At just 3.3 inches tall, HomePod mini is packed with innovative technologies and advanced software that together enable computational audio to deliver breakthrough audio quality wherever it is placed. HomePod mini will be available in white and space gray at a great price of just $99.

The weak link is Siri.

Update (2020-11-16): John Gruber:

What I do know is that the HomePod Mini seems like just what everyone has been asking for from Apple — a much lower-priced HomePod that still sounds great. Now, you can say, “Well wait, the new Amazon Dot is just $50.” I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Apple to make a $50 anything. The HomePod Mini might be the nicest device Apple has ever made for $100. I don’t even know what to compare it against, price-wise — I guess the iPod Shuffle, which started as low as $99 when it debuted and dropped to $50 by the fourth and final generation in 2010.

5 Comments RSS · Twitter

And not much compatibility with MacOS apart from AirPlay streaming. So presumably you can't use the intercom feature from a Mac to HomePod in another room. You'd have to use a phone or iPad.

The weak link is Siri?! Michael, Michael, Michael. How can you say such things? I just love it when I stand in my kitchen and say “Hey Siri, set a timer for 20 minutes” and my HomePod sets a timer… and my Apple Watch sets another timer… and my iPhone sets another timer… and if any of the kids iPads are lying around they set a timer, and then 20 minutes later we’ll have 5+ separate timers going off each requiring their own manual intervention to shut them up. Who wouldn’t want that? Siri is great!

I would love for some review to compare it to the JBL Link Music. I got one; it has the same price point.

its audio quality is… OK. Not bad (maybe more than you’d expect from its size?), but hardly great. I could see Apple doing a lot better at that.
the flakyness of AirPlay is disappointing. I have absolutely no idea how much of this is JBL’s vs. Apple’s fault, though, and maybe Apple’s own speakers do this better? (Even if they do, the way Apple’s various software — the macOS Music app, etc. — handles connection issues is not great. And given how simple my home setup is, that doesn’t leave me with confidence.)

One minor(?) point — I don’t understand why Apple makes a big intro about how making our homes comfy has become more important due to COVID, then shows a piece of hardware that’s available only in light grey and dark grey. The JBL Link Music can be had in various colors. I got the blue, because, hey, why not. Make some joyful designs, Apple!

Either way, at this price point, if the thing doesn’t suck, I’m interested.

So Apple expects us to buy something that looks like a Jony tennis ball?

No thanks, I have enough devices where I have to repeat myself twice just to get the lights to turn on/off.

And... “intercom” *SNICKER* maybe get “walkie talkie” working on the watch before adding more features from the 1970s.

I’m getting two on launch day. Why? Gadgets like these are the only Apple thing worth buying today. They need to double down on this stuff and make it great.

Deny deny deny, but you’ll all come around! :)

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