If the past few decades have been any indication, anytime Apple decides to create a new device, the world takes notice. And now with Apple’s latest debut, the HomePod Mini, the power of the Cupertino-based company will be put to the test. That’s because its all-new HomePod Mini will be entering a marketplace already saturated by many top-tier competitors, such as Amazon and Google.
From the get-go, customers of the HomePod mini will notice two distinctions: the design can fit into most any part of the home (namely due to its size and simple, blend-friendly color scheme), and that the sound easily fills the space it’s intended to. This sound quality is produced by an acoustic waveguide on the bottom, ensuring the sound is pushed out into space properly, delivering a 360-degree experience. These are two quick ways in which Apple’s newest smart speaker stands out against its competitors. But unlike some of Sonos’s newest speakers, which can be taken off the charger for extended periods, the HomePod Mini is restricted by having to be plugged in at all times. For music and podcasts, Apple’s HomePod Mini is synced to play seamlessly through Apple Music and Pandora. But unlike Amazon and Google products, to use Spotify, for example, Apple’s HomePod Mini requires a bluetooth connection, much like a more traditional speaker.
A simple commands such as “Hey, Siri, what’s the weather like today?” is greeted with a flurry of LED lights on a circular touch surface (as if the device is thinking) before a response tells you what you need to know. Furthermore, the HomePod Mini also acts an extended intercom of sorts. Let’s say you’re at the grocery store and have forgotten if you are low on milk. By simply using the Apple Home application on a smartphone, users can voice their question through the home so that someone can check and report back in real time.
Ultimately, the HomePod Mini is a big step, not merely for technology, but for having a price point that allows users to own it. Bringing such a powerful product to the marketplace for $99 is sure to make an impact this year and next.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest