The original HomePod arrived in 2018 and was discontinued in favor of the $99 HomePod Mini in 2021, but Apple brought it back earlier this year as a second generation model with upgraded audio and new smart home tools. Now, it's on sale for the first time at B&H Photo Video for $279 in white and $289 in black via an instant rebate, saving you $20 and $10 respectively.
The design of the second-generation model is much the same, apart from details like the slightly recessed touch panel, a detachable power cord and a slightly shorter profile. Inside, though, there are a host of changes. Apple reduced the number of tweeters from seven to five, angling them slightly upward instead of side-firing as before. The number of voice microphones was reduced from six down to four and, most importantly, Apple swapped the iPhone 6’s A8 chip for the much more modern S7.
The new model cures one of our biggest gripes with the original HomePod, namely Siri's limited abilities. Now, it can recognize multiple users, create recurring home automations without an iPhone and play music from voice commands via services like Deezer and Pandora and not just Apple Music. Most importantly, performance and responsiveness is much improved.
Sound quality is outstanding, with excellent clarity, though bass can occasionally be too subdued for certain types of music. It works especially well as a stereo pair, something that's easy to set up via the app. It can also be set up for use with Apple TV and has especially good voice clarity. The best part, though, is the reduced price compared to the previous model, and B&H Photo Video's discount of up to $20 makes it a particularly good buy — just be sure to act by midnight ET on May 14th.