Apple is set to join the affordable smart speaker market with the launch of its HomePod Mini.
Priced at £99, the new device is designed to work with Apple Music, podcasts, radio stations from iHeartRadio, radio.com, and TuneIn, and in the coming months, popular music services including Pandora and Amazon Music. Arch rival Spotify is notable by its absence from Apple's press release.
Apple's full-size, high-end HomePod launched in 2018, but has struggled to gain traction in the competitive smart speaker market against Amazon's smaller, cheaper, Alexa-powered Echo devices. HomePod Mini is a clear play for that sector.
“HomePod Mini has everything customers want in a smart speaker — amazing sound for listening to music, a world-class intelligent assistant that delivers a personal experience to each member of the household, and like every Apple product, it’s designed with privacy and security in mind,” explained Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of worldwide product marketing.
“HomePod Mini is the ultimate smart speaker for anyone with an Apple device. It works effortlessly with iPhone to hand off music, answer calls, or deliver personalised listening suggestions, elevates the sound from Apple TV, plays music from a Mac, and so much more. There’s a lot of Apple innovation packed into such a small speaker, all at an affordable price.”
Apple added that the HomePod Mini will deliver an "incredibly rich and detailed acoustic experience, using computational audio to deliver peak performance."
The device will be available to order from November 6 and will be available from November 16.
This week, former BBC Radio 1Xtra Breakfast Show presenter Dotty Charles launched her Apple Music radio show.
By Paul Stokes