The HomePod mini has a sensor for measuring room temperature and humidity, which Apple has kept secret until now. The 1.5 mm × 1.5 mm digital humidity and temperature sensor (HDC2010) is being built by Texas Instruments, according to an analysis by the financial news agency Bloomberg emerges. The component is located relatively far away from the main components on the lower edge of the spherical loudspeaker and is therefore designed to capture the environment – and not the heat generated by internal components.
Temperature sensor for the smart home
Apple is considering using the sensor to interact with networked heating thermostats, how Bloomberg reported with reference to informed persons. Each HomePod mini provides additional data about the room climate in the immediate vicinity and could thus enable more precise heating control.
Apple could also include the information from the sensor in its automation routines for HomeKit devices, for example to turn on a fan when a certain temperature is reached. Whether the HomePod mini is already recording the data remains unclear for the time being – users currently have no way of reading them using software. It is also unclear whether Apple wants to activate the sensor via an update.
The first HomePod has had its day
After the big HomePod was discontinued, Apple now has only two of its own smart home products in its portfolio: HomePod mini and the Apple TV, which has not been updated for almost four years. According to information from the financial news agency, Apple is working on a new version of the TV box and is also developing speakers with screens and cameras – an introduction is not imminent.
As hubs, the products play a decisive role in home automation with Apple’s HomeKit protocol: only via a hub is it possible to access home smart home devices and set up automations while on the move. With the HomePod mini, HomeKit is mesh-capable for the first time: the loudspeaker serves as a “border router” for the Thread mesh network protocol and thus connects thread-capable devices such as the battery-operated weather station Eve Weather to the outside world.
- You can read what is behind Thread and what it means for Apple’s HomeKit in a background article in Mac & i Issue 2/2021, which will be available from April 8, 2021.