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Apple announces a full-size HomePod renewal, two years after the original was discontinued


Apple announced a new $299 HomePod smart speaker with a similar form factor to the original HomePod released in 2018.
 New features available with this second-generation model include support for smart home standards, allowing the speaker to control compatible accessories, and an upgrade to the S7 chip that debuted in the Apple Watch Series 7.
 It will be sold alongside the HomePod Mini, the smaller version of the speaker introduced in 2020. The new HomePod will start shipping on February 3.

The second-generation HomePod has a single 4-inch subwoofer paired with five speakers.
 Apple says the speaker can sense how it's positioned in a room, and adjust its sound depending on whether it's placed against a wall or outside in the middle of a space. Like the original HomePod, the two speakers can be arranged in a stereo pair, or used as speakers for the Apple TV 4K, according to The Verge.
New to this model are built-in temperature and humidity sensors that can be used as triggers for smart home automation (there have been reports of similar sensors in the HomePod Mini, but they haven't been made available for consumer use). 
There's also support for music delivery as we saw with the HomePod Mini using Apple's ultra-wideband technology, and the speaker's voice assistant Siri can recognize up to six different voices and provide personalized responses.
With a software update later this spring, Apple says the new HomePod will be able to use its built-in microphone to listen for smoke or carbon monoxide alarms and notify you via your iPhone.
The original HomePod had an unusually rocky lifespan for an Apple product.
Originally announced in 2017 with a December ship date, the $349 smart speaker was later pushed back to February 2018. 
And when it was released then HomePod Siri's voice assistant fared poorly against Alexa and Google Assistant, and reviewers criticized how locked down Apple's smartphone ecosystem was. 
 Despite cutting its price by $50 in 2019, the HomePod was eventually discontinued in 2021.
In addition to its cheaper price, the HomePod Mini also introduced support for Thread — the smart home protocol that later became an integral part of the Matter specification. Like the new HomePod, the HomePod Mini can act as both a Matter smart home controller and a Thread boundary router for managing Matter devices across networks. Thread, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet networks.
The second generation HomePod will be sold in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and 11 other markets, according to Apple. It will be available in white or gray, with a "color-matched" power cable.