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Apple HomePod 2 vs 1 (2023): What’s the Difference?

When Apple launched the original HomePod, it could hardly be considered as one of the best smart speakers around. However, it seems that the Cupertino brand is looking to change that with a newer version of the HomePod, its second take at a full-sized offering, which is now available alongside the smaller HomePod mini.

The question then is, what’s different this time around? To answer just that, we compare the second-generation HomePod, otherwise known as HomePod 2, to the first HomePod, which is now aptly called the HomePod 1.

Apple HomePod 2 vs 1 Comparison Chart

ModelHomePod 2HomePod 1
 Apple HomePod 2 vs 1Apple HomePod 2 vs 1
PriceCheck Price at Apple.comCheck Price at Walmart.com
SpeakerWoofer, 5-array tweetersWoofer, 7-array tweeters
Microphone4 far-field mics6 far-field mics
ProcessorS7 chip, U1 chipA8 chip
Temperature SensorYesNo
Humidity SensorYesNo
Sound RecognitionYesNo
Dimensions (H x D)6.6″ x 5.6″6.8″ x 5.6″
Detachable CableYesNo
ColorsMidnight, WhiteMidnight, White

Design and Build

The HomePod 1 and HomePod 2 are practically the same, but the latter now has a removable cable that’s easy to replace.

Apple HomePod 2 vs 1 Design and Build
Notice how the HomePod 2’s (left) touch panel is slightly recessed, whereas the HomePod 1’s (right) is flush.

Side by side, it’s hard to tell one apart from the other. Both have the same cylindrical shape with a rounded top and bottom. Moreover, they have the same touchscreen on top, though the HomePod 2’s is a bit more recessed as opposed to the HomePod 1’s, which is flush.

Also, they measure the same at 5.6 inches in diameter. However, the HomePod 2 is 6.6 inches in height, which is a tad shorter than the 6.8-inch tall HomePod 1. Both are wrapped with more or less the same 3D mesh fabric too.

One huge advantage the HomePod 2 has is its detachable cable. For folks with pets or kids, the biggest worry with the original HomePod was that damaging the cable meant a costly repair. Sure, it was technically removable, but it wasn’t exactly “replaceable.” Now it’s a nonissue with the newer model. In fact, it’s compatible with just about any figure-8 power cord.

Just like the first HomePod, the HomePod 2 comes in Midnight and White.

Click here for our Sonos Move vs HomePod comparison.

Audio Quality

HomePod 1 may be better equipped, but it doesn’t blow the HomePod 2 out of the water.

Apple HomePod 2 vs 1 Audio Quality
A look at the internals of the HomePod 2 (in photo).

On the sound front, the HomePod 2 really delivers, being touted as having rich bass and detailed highs with clarity. Similar to the previous model, it’s equipped with an upward-firing high-excursion woofer, but instead of having an array of seven horn-loaded tweeters, it only has five, which seem to be angled up a bit more in comparison. 

Speaking of, the newer speaker also saw a reduction in the number of far-field microphones to a total of four, going down from the six found in the internals of the original. While it looks like it’s lagging behind in sound quality and the ability to catch voice commands, that doesn’t seem to be the case. 

By the same token, the HomePod 2 doesn’t offer that much more in audio features, as both have Dolby Atmos Spatial Audio, home theater mode with Apple TV 4K, automatic bass correction and room sensing. The only difference is it now has “advanced computational audio with system sensing for real-time tuning,” as Apple puts it, which isn’t all that obvious from the get-go. Still, it’s an improvement at the very least.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that these support stereo pairing. However, there’s a caveat: they have to be the same speaker of the same generation. In short, you won’t be able to pair the HomePod 1 with the HomePod 2. You’ll need two of the same type of speaker.

Other Features

Smart features are where the HomePod 2 outshines the HomePod 1. For starters, the former has the newer S7 chip under the hood, the same processor that powers the Apple Watch Series 7. In contrast, the latter is running on the obviously already outdated A8, the same one found in the iPhone 6, which rolled out in 2014. In other words, the generational leap in this regard is pretty significant.

Also, only the HomePod 2 houses a U1 coprocessor for spatial awareness technology, allowing it to communicate with other devices equipped with the chip as well. What’s more, it features sound recognition. It’s mainly used to detect the sound of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and when it does, it’ll notify you right away. On top of that, it has temperature and humidity sensors. This addition opens a new world of possibilities with automating a smart home. For instance, if the temperature or humidity reaches a certain point, you can set it to turn on an air conditioner—assuming it’s smart.

On a related note, the HomePod 2 supports Matter and Thread as well, like the HomePod mini.

Verdict

Across the board, the HomePod 2 is an upgrade over the HomePod 1.

The HomePod 2 builds on its predecessor in a number of ways. That includes a detachable cable and plenty of new smart features, such as sound recognition and Matter support. Plus, it has temperature and humidity sensors, as well as a newer S7 chip paired with a U1 processor. Long story short, there’s no reason to get the HomePod 1, unless you can nab one at a significantly lower cost than its newer, shinier sibling.

FAQs

📌 Are two HomePods worth it?

Yes, getting two HomePods—be it the HomePod 1, HomePod 2 or HomePod mini—will allow you to use stereo pairing. However, make sure to get the same speaker of the same generation; otherwise, the feature won’t work.

📌 Is there a HomePod 2 coming out?

At the time of writing, the HomePod 2 is now available, and shipping has started since Feb. 3, 2023.

📌 What is different about the new HomePod?

Compared to the original, the HomePod 2 features Thread/Matter support, sound recognition, temperature and humidity sensors and a detachable cable. Also, it has a newer S7 processor coupled with a U1 coprocessor, though it has only five tweeters and four mics, whereas the HomePod 1 has seven tweeters and six mics.

📌 Is the original HomePod still good?

With the new HomePod 2 now available, it’s hard to justify choosing the HomePod 1 over its newer sibling. However, it’s worth considering if you can get it at a steal.

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.