A new report assumes that Apple has launched the first-generation HomePod mini with a hidden feature that could be activated through a simple software update. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the hidden feature is a sensor that could measure temperature and humidity.
Apple has never unveiled this component, and the device currently has no consumer-oriented features. The company discussed internally the use of the sensor to determine the temperature and humidity of a room, so that thermostats connected to the Internet can adjust different parts of a house according to current conditions, depending on people familiar with the situation. The hardware may also allow the HomePod mini to automatically trigger other actions, such as turning the fan on or off, depending on the temperature.
If Apple eventually activates the sensor, it would support a smart home strategy, which sometimes had no focus and followed that of rivals. The latest Echo speakers from Amazon.com Inc. they have temperature sensors, while Google Nest sells sensors that can be placed around houses and connected to its thermostats to regulate the temperature of each room.
The new capabilities would be a special advantage for an Apple software system called HomeKit that controls thermostats, lights, locks, sockets and other devices in the house. HomeKit works with fewer gadgets than similar software from Amazon and Google, and Apple does not create its own smart-home hardware beyond the HomePod and Apple TV streaming box. However, there are about 40 thermostats featured on the Apple website that are compatible with HomeKit. For more details, read the full Bloomberg report.
Currently, this is considered a rumor, because Apple has not acknowledged that this component is for a future feature at this time. It’s an interesting story that may or may not retire later this year.