The HomePod mini reportedly includes a hidden temperature and humidity sensor despite the spec sheet of the smart speaker not mentioning anything about such a sensor. However, a teardown of the smart speaker by iFixit revealed a temperature and humidity sensor.
Right now, there are no user-facing features on the HomePod mini to take advantage of this temperature sensor. Bloomberg reports that Apple is planning on using the sensor to determine the temperature and humidity of a room so that the HomePod can automatically control the thermostat settings. It could also allow the HomePod mini to switch on/off the fan depending on the temperature and conditions.
The temperature and humidity sensor is located a the bottom edge of the HomePod mini’s plastic case near the power cable. The sensor has been intentionally placed away from the speaker’s main components so that it can measure the ambient temperature and humidity properly. The sensor is made by Texas Instruments and is called the HDC2010 Humidity and Temperature Digital Sensor.
As of now, there’s no word on when Apple plans to enable this hidden temperature sensor on the HomePod mini. The next major HomePod mini OS update may add some features that take advantage of this sensor. The Bloomberg report blames Siri for Apple lagging in the smart speaker market and how far it is behind Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Some insiders blame the lack of progress thus far in the home on Siri, Apple’s voice-recognition service that, while improving, is still considered behind Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. Whatever the reason, no unifying strategy has emerged so far, one of the people familiar with the situation said. The people asked not to be identified discussing sensitive issues.
The original HomePod, which Apple discontinued earlier this month, lacks a temperature and humidity sensor. So, whatever functionality Apple does intend to add, they will only make their way to the HomePod mini.
The report also details that Apple was working on a successor to the original HomePod due to release in 2022 before the plans were shelved. It is also working on speakers with displays and cameras, though there’s no clarity on whether these products will be released to the public or not.[Via Bloomberg]