‘Hey, Siri what does my day look like?’
As I ask this, sipping coffee early in the morning, the small blue globe on the side table springs to life, a light glowing on top, before a male, very Indian, voice tells me I have an appointment today, another video call, around 4.30 pm.
The new HomePod mini is a tech-powered Jeeves now that Apple has added personal queries to the 2021 version of its smart speakers. And it is not just about queries. I asked the HomePod to add a reminder for a new team meeting and it told me I did not have a reminder list and asked if it should create one. It did so too in a jiffy, all as the iPhone was far away juicing up for the day.
The new HomePod mini is not different in look from the earlier version. However, Apple has added a lot of colour this time and users have the option to choose the colour that goes with their decor, or just stands out from it. The review unit I got was a dark blue, which sort of went well with the grey fabric that dominates my living room.
The music too blends well into the room. The HomePod mini for me has the right sound profile and volume to not stick out too much. This is a very balanced audio profile that can add oomph if the song demands some extra bass. And for those like me who like their music to be sharper, the settings give the option to cut the bass, an option I was happy to use.
After filling the room with A R Rahman’s superb compositions for the new Atrangi Re, the HomePod mini was more than happy to play Sanjay Subramanian’s Suttrum Nadiye Kande… both pretty much on either end of the spectrum. But the shift is seamless because the Apple S5 chip inside the speakers figures out the acoustics to match the speakers and surroundings. So nothing ever jars your experience. From one song to the other, the playlist just flows.
Also, the 360-degree speakers have acoustics that make it sound the same wherever you place it in the house. My only grouse with the mini is that it needs to be wired at all times to work. I was expecting the new version would come with a battery to make it more portable. And you can’t really power the HomePod mini from a laptop or PC using the USB-C port as I discovered. You need a wall charger to get this to work.
At Rs 9,900, the new HomePod mini is the most colourful and smart speaker you can get for the home, especially one with other Apple devices that can sync with this one. Getting more than one minis will make your home sound great, without breaking the bank as many other single speakers will cost you what two minis do right now.