HomePod vs. HomePod 2: Improvements, Tweaks & Updates…

Apple introduced the original HomePod in 2018 before killing it three years later. But 2023 sees the HomePod make a comeback. So how are the two different?

It’s been a great start to 2023 as far as Apple hardware releases are concerned. In January also Apple introduced the M2 Pro and M2 Max MacBook Pro, the M2 and M2 Pro Mac mini, and now, the 2023 HomePod with new features (and additional features like Sound Recognition coming at a later date.

Announcing the new 2023 HomePod, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Greg Joswiak, said, “Leveraging our audio expertise and innovations, the new HomePod delivers rich, deep bass, natural mid-range, and clear, detailed highs. 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.”

But how does the original 2018 HomePod compare to the 2023 model? Let’s take a look…

HomePod vs. HomePod 2: Improvements, Tweaks & Updates...Pin

HomePod vs. HomePod 2: Specs

Original HomePod (2018)

  • Chip: Apple A8
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5
  • Design: white or space gray
  • Size: 6.8 in × 5.6 in (170 mm × 140 mm)
  • Weight: 5.5 lb (2.5 kg)
  • Microphones: 6
  • Tweeters: 7
  • Woofer: 4-inch

New HomePod (2023)

  • Chip: Apple S7
  • Sensors: Sound Recognition, Temperature and humidity, Accelerometer
  • Connectivity: 802.11n, Bluetooth 5, U1 Ultra Wideband
  • Design: white or space gray
  • Size: 6.6 in × 5.6 in (167.6 mm × 140 mm)
  • Weight: 5.16 pounds (2.3 kg)
  • Microphones: 4
  • Tweeters: 5
  • Woofer: 4-inch

HomePod vs. HomePod 2: CPU

One of the biggest differences between the 2018 HomePod and the 2023 HomePod is the chips. The original HomePod featured the A8 chipset from the iPhone 6 series. The 2023 HomePod features the S7 chip found in the Apple Watch Series 7.

Which is better? Apple is claiming the S7 chipset in the 2023 HomePod provides “even more advanced computational audio that maximizes the full potential of its acoustic system for a groundbreaking listening experience.”

HomePod vs. HomePod 2: Design

Both HomePods come in either white or space grey mesh. What is different is the 2023 HomePod is just a little smaller and lighter than the 2018 HomePod.

The 2023 HomePod comes in at 6.6 inches tall, which is 0.2 inches shorter than the 2018 HomePod, which means it will take up less space on a shelf. Because of its size difference, the 2023 HomePod is also a few tenths of a pound lighter than the 2018 HomePod.

The 2023 HomePod is also said to feature a larger touch interface on the top of the device than the 2018 HomePod had. This is the glowing multicolored touchpad that is found on top of all HomePods. The larger touch surface gives users more space to interact with the device.

HomePod vs. HomePod 2: Connectivity

Okay, the connectivity features of the 2018 HomePod and 2023 HomePod is where things get interesting. Apple has actually downgraded the Wi-Fi in the 2023 HomePod from 802.11ac (found in the 2018 HomePod) to 802.11n.

This Wi-Fi downgrade means the Wi-Fi in the 2023 HomePod is not as versatile as that in the original HomePod. The Bluetooth chip in both models remains at Bluetooth 5.

However, the 2023 HomePod does beat out the original HomePod on one connectivity front: Apple has added the U1 Ultra Wideband chip to the 2023 HomePod. This means that iPhones with U1 chips can be detected by the 2023 HomePod when they are nearby and handoff playing music from one device to the next.

HomePod vs. HomePod 2: Sound

The sound quality of any device is so hard to judge because no two human ears are the same. However, based on hard specs, Apple did downgrade a few of the audio features from the 2018 HomePod to the 2023 HomePod.

While both HomePods have a 4-inch woofer, the 2023 HomePod only features 5 tweeters (down from 7 in the 2018 HomePod) and the 2023 HomePod also features 4 microphones (down from 6 in the 2018 HomePod).

Will the fewer microphones in the 2023 HomePod impact the ability of the device to hear a user’s commands? That remains to be seen, but it’s doubtful most users will notice that much of a difference.

HomePod vs. HomePod 2: Sensors

The final big difference between the 2023 HomePod and the 2018 HomePod is that the 2023 model now includes a temperature and humidity sensor. This allows the 2023 HomePod to track these metrics in the room it’s in and feed the data to the Home app, which can then relay the information to other compatible Home devices.

HomePod vs. HomePod 2: Cost

As for cost, the 2023 HomePod is $299, which is the same price Apple sold the 2018 HomePod for (in 2018, Apple debuted it for $349, but later reduced the price to $299).

Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.

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