Apple executives talk new HomePod 2, Wi-Fi 4 limitations

The new HomePod 2 starts being sold tomorrow for $299. While reviewers already praised the second iteration of this smart speaker this week, Apple’s VP of hardware engineering Matthew Costello and product marketing employee Alice Chan have spoken with TechCrunch and Men’s Journal about this new product. Here are the highlights.

As you may know, the HomePod 2 looks very similar to its predecessor but has a few internal and external changes. For example, it has a larger edge-to-edge LED touchscreen on top, and from the inside, it has fewer tweeters and microphones – although some reviewers said its sound is still better than its predecessor.

With the S7 chip, the same available on the Apple Watch Series 7, some users noted that it supports an old generation Wi-Fi version (4 while the first HomePod supported Wi-Fi 5). Apple VP says this isn’t a problem:

“HomePod features Wi-Fi 4 connectivity that allows us to target exactly what works best in the entire system, making sure Siri requests are responsive, and ensuring a consistent experience for all you are listening to, controlling your smart home accessories and more — all while being energy efficient.”

He also talked about why it’s impossible to pair the new HomePod 2 with its predecessor:

“When creating a stereo pair, it’s important that the audio characteristics match for an optimal, balanced experience. The new HomePod delivers immersive, room-filling sound users love — with even more detail, clarity and layers than the original HomePod — so we wanted the acoustical imaging to be as pure and consistent as possible from generation to generation. The principle of having audio characteristics match in a stereo pair applies to HomePod mini, the original HomePod and the new HomePod.”

Chan, on the other hand, acknowledges the challenges the first iteration of the HomePod suffered and why Apple decided to bet on a bigger size again two years after discontinuing the 2018 model:

“We’ve taken all the learnings from the original HomePod as well as HomePod mini and applied them to the new HomePod,” shared Chan.

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