Apple HomePod Mini announced, looks like Magic 8 Ball and costs $99

  • Apple unveiled a cheaper HomePod mini during its iPhone event Tuesday as expected.
  • The spherical speaker will be priced at $99 and comes in space gray and white.
  • The new smart speaker comes after Apple has fielded criticism for not releasing a HomePod at a more affordable price.
  • The original HomePod also wasn’t compatible with third-party music services like Spotify — the company said Tuesday that the HomePod mini will eventually be able to play content from Pandora and Amazon Music.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Apple’s Tuesday event was expected to focus mostly on the company’s iPhone 12 launch, but the first release out of the door was that of a new HomePod smart speaker, which was expected to make an appearance.

At $99, it’s a cheaper alternative to Apple’s HomePod, which was priced at $350 when it first launched.

The new, Siri-enabled device features a spherical design wrapped in a mesh fabric with a top panel that houses the controls, such as raising and lowering the volume. It’s equipped with the company’s S5 chip and has “computational audio,” meaning the speaker can analyze the music and adjust for a more optimized “360-degree” listening experience. You can also use multiple HomePod minis to sync throughout your house for a more surround sound.

The new HomePod mini can be integrated with the iPhone, iPad, and CarPlay. If you bring your iPhone close to the new HomePod, a display will appear with the current music or podcast playing.

The device will be able to access the apps on your iPhone through Siri, helping you find your smartphone if you’ve misplaced it in your house, giving you a weather update, and reminding you of meetings on your calendar when prompted. The company emphasized that the HomePod mini was “designed with your privacy and security in mind.” The personal requests you make won’t be associated with your Apple ID and you can only make them when your iPhone is home with you, according to Apple.

It will also integrate with the Home app, allowing you to control the temperature, door locks, and light features throughout your home. The speaker will also be able to recognize every voice in the household and can be used as an intercom if you use multiple HomePod minis throughout the home.

The HomePod mini comes in two colors, space gray and white, and is available to order on November 6, and will start shipping the week of November 16.

The announcement of a less expensive HomePod smart speaker comes after Apple fielded criticism for releasing its HomePod at a price that was not considered affordable for the masses, as well as for a lack of compatibility with competing music services, as Business Insider’s Lisa Eadicicco reported in April.

The original HomePod was priced at $350 when it launched in 2017. It wasn’t compatible with third-party music platforms, forcing users to employ AirPlay to play content from apps like Spotify on the speaker.

The company announced Tuesday that the new $99 HomePod mini will eventually be compatible with Pandora and Amazon Music.

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