The HomePod mini has a hidden ability that Apple has yet to put into action: A sensor that measures both temperature and humidity.
According to Bloomberg, the sensor could be used to trigger other If This/Then That-style smart home actions, such as turning a fan on or off depending on the temperature. It’s not clear why Apple has has not yet been turned into a feature that can be utilized by customers — or when it might do so.
The tiny sensor is “buried in the bottom edge of the HomePod mini’s plastic, fabric-wrapped case” near to the HomePod mini’s power cable. It is made by the company Texas Instruments, and is officially called the HDC2010 Humidity and Temperature Digital Sensor.
Both the new, fourth-generation Amazon Echo and second-generation Echo Plus have similar temperature sensors. They also mean that users can ask, “Alexa, how warm is it in this room?” as an addition/alternative to simply asking for local weather information.
Future of the HomePod
Apple recently cancelled its full-size HomePod speakers, ostensibly to focus on the smaller HomePod mini. Apple hasn’t revealed its future plans for the HomePod. From the sound of things, though, Apple could make it a more integrated, crucial part of the HomeKit smart home research initiative if it chooses to. Bloomberg notes that:
“[No] unifying strategy has emerged so far [for HomePod], one of the people familiar with the situation said. The people asked not to be identified discussing sensitive issues. This comes after Apple sought to revamp its smart home efforts with a new team it began forming in 2019.”
It also claims that Apple had been working on an updated HomePod for release in 2022. In addition, it’s exploring new speakers “with screens and cameras,” although no launch is imminent. It is not clear whether the refreshed HomePod is still in the works.