Apple's new HomePod speaker looks the same but sounds a whole smarter

It’s already been a busy week for Apple with the US technology firm launching two new MacBooks and a rebooted Mac mini. But the gadget launches aren’t stopping there with a new HomePod also arriving in stores early next month.

This 2nd Gen smart speaker – which arrives almost two years after the original boombox was discontinued – features an upgraded S7 processor, better sound and an abundance of intelligent upgrades which can monitor room conditions and alert your iPhone should fire alarms start ringing.

As you can read in our original HomePod review, the first smart speaker from the US tech firm was no slouch when it came to great-sounding audio but Apple says this new device should take things up to 11 thanks to sensors that adjust the sound depending on where it is placed within a room. For example, the HomePod knows if it’s pushed up against a wall or has been placed right in the middle of the kitchen with it then adapting the sound in real-time.

There’s also support for clever Spatial Audio. For those that may not have heard of this technology, Spatial Audio give artists the opportunity to create immersive audio experiences for their fans with true multidimensional sound and clarity. This basically makes the sound appears to hit your ears from all directions making things sound much more true-to-life and engaging.

Tucked under the eco-friendly shell are five tweeters, a custom-engineered high-excursion woofer and a powerful motor that drives the diaphragm a remarkable 20mm. Apple says this tech will all work together to “achieve a powerful acoustic experience.”

Along with that audio, the speaker is powered by Siri so users can bark commands, set timers and ask for music to be played without reaching for their phones.

Another nice feature of this HomePod is built-in temperature and humidity sensors that can measure indoor environments. That may sound a bit odd in a speaker but the upgrade means owners can create unique automations that close the blinds or turn on the fan automatically when a certain temperature is reached in a room.

Should the worst happen and the smoke alarms go off whilst away from home, the HomePod will automatically send alerts to the iPhone if it hears the high-pitched siren.

Other features include a simple set-up plus the speaker links to the latest Apple TV 4K to make your movie binge sound like the local cinema.

Just like the original, you can even pair two devices together for the ultimate audio experience.

“Leveraging our audio expertise and innovations, the new HomePod delivers rich, deep bass, natural mid-range, and clear, detailed highs,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With the popularity of HomePod mini, we’ve seen growing interest in even more powerful acoustics achievable in a larger HomePod. We’re thrilled to bring the next generation of HomePod to customers around the world.”

Sound enticing? Apple’s HomePod (2nd generation) is available to order from today. It costs £299 and will arrive in stores on Friday, February 3.