The HomePod mini is shaping up to be quite popular with its expansive feature set and low price tag. We reached out to our audience for what you all wanted to know about HomePod mini and we’ve already been inundated with piles of questions.
The HomePod mini is Apple’s new $99 smart speaker. It is much smaller than the full-size HomePod, but lacks the larger unit’s spatial awareness and home theater mode.
Otherwise, the HomePod mini can do just the same as its big brother. In some cases, it can do more thanks to the addition of the U1 chip for a better Handoff experience.
HomePod mini can play music on its own from a variety of sources but also can play any content using AirPlay 2. It acts as a Home Hub for your HomeKit accessories, can be used as an intercom system, get personalized recommendations, and much more.
Apple plans to release HomePod mini on November 16 with preorders starting November 6. While we wait, here are our answers to your biggest questions.
Will the HomePod mini allow more than two simultaneous Bluetooth HomeKit connections?
Yes. This isn’t a current limitation and the HomePod mini should allow constant connections of any Bluetooth HomeKit accessories nearby.
How does handoff work with non-U1 enabled iPhones?
Handoff will work with the HomePod mini in the same way that it works with existing HomePods. When handing off it will detect the nearby Bluetooth signal and transfer over AirPlay. HomePod mini just has an improved experience.
What is the integration like for third-party music services such as Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, etc?
Apple has promised support for streaming music from third-party services as part of the HomePod’s audioOS 14 update. We haven’t been able to use this feature yet as the update has not been released, but it seems HomePod will be able to stream from many sources directly without using AirPlay.
Some sources — such as Spotify — appear to be absent and will have to be implemented by the provider itself. For now, if you wish to stream Spotify to your HomePod mini, you will need to use AirPlay 2.
Will it work for Apple TV home theater if paired to a full-size HomePod?
You cannot pair the HomePod mini with a full-size HomePod. If you have a stereo pair of HomePod minis you can use them as speakers for your Apple TV via AirPlay but only the full-size HomePod can be set as a Dolby Atmos speaker for Apple TV 4K.
Where will the HomePod mini be available at launch?
At launch, HomePod mini will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Spain, the UK, and theUS. China, Mexico, and Taiwan will get HomePod mini by the end of 2020.
When is the HomePod OS 14 update going to be released?
We don’t know for sure as Apple has not revealed a release date but we expect it to be released by the time HomePod mini hits shelves on November 16.
How many watts does the HomePod mini output?
At this time we do not know how much power the HomePod mini can output.
Does the HomePod mini have a line-out to connect to other audio devices?
There are no wired inputs or outputs for audio on the HomePod mini. There is no line-out to connect other speakers.
Will Siri’s response time be the same for home automations with the S5 chip?
While it is hard to tell with certainty, it seems the S5 is most similar to the A9 or A10 processor. The existing HomePod has an A8 processor inside which means that there is the potential for HomePod mini to be slightly faster in its responses than the full-size HomePod. We will need to have the HomePod mini in our hands to know for sure.
Is it possible to use the HomePod mini as a rear or center speaker in a 5.1 surround setup?
No, it can only be set up as a solo unit or stereo pair. A pair of original HomePods will support Dolby Atmos audio with Apple TV 4K though.
What does the power cord look like?
Apple hasn’t shown the power cable clearly, so we will see for sure when it arrives. We can assume it will look similar to the existing HomePod’s cable with a wall plug on one end rather than USB.
Is it true that home theater support with Dolby Atmos is coming?
Apple will allow the full-size HomePod paired with an Apple TV 4K for home theater mode which includes Dolby Atmos support. It works with one, but is recommended to use a stereo pair.
The update for Dolby Atmos is coming with the HomePod OS 14.2 update as well as tvOS 14.2. Atmos Support will not be coming to the HomePod mini.
Is it possible to play Spotify music or just Apple Music on the HomePod mini?
Apple has announced several music sources for HomePod mini including Pandora, Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Radio.com. Others, including Spotify, will work over AirPlay.
Does the HomePod mini support Bluetooth connection?
The HomePod mini is not compatible with Bluetooth audio streaming. The Bluetooth connection is only used for setup and other minor features. AirPlay 2 requires Wi-Fi.
What are Apple’s future plans for the new chip that can locate iPhones nearby? HomeKit automations potentially?
We don’t know what Apple’s future plans are but rumors have suggested that HomePod mini will be instrumental in future smart home plans including automating your HomeKit accessories and location devices.
How many HomePods or HomePod minis can I pair together?
Two HomePods or two HomePod minis can be paired in stereo for left and right audio, to form one streaming device. AirPlay 2 lets you play the same audio on several HomePods, HomePod minis, stereo pairs, or other AirPlay 2-enabled speakers at once.
There is no noted limit on the number of AirPlay 2 devices that can be streamed to at once, but we suspect the limit is 127 devices based on network addressing and other hardware considerations.