Apple has included a secret temperature sensor in its HomePod mini, but rather than checking for overheating, it can help control the shadows of HomeKit windows.
Apple The newest smart speaker, HomePod mini, has a sensor to detect temperature and humidity. So far, this has not been active and Apple has not mentioned such a capability at product launch. Temperature measurements inside a device could serve several purposes, but a deeper dive can shed light on what is in store for this small but powerful speaker.
Apple unveiled the original HomePod in 2017, and the well-balanced, high-quality sound and beautifully sized woofer provided powerful, space-rich music as it went smart with Apple’s personal assistant, Siri. Most agree that he is a nice speaker and, although Siri is not the best vocal assistant, he has improved over the years. At the end of 2020, Apple launched HomePod mini, a much smaller speaker, which still offers high fidelity, with a slightly lower volume and less powerful bass. The HomePod mini cost a third of the value of the large HomePod and proved to be much more successful. Then, Apple recently discontinued the HomePod, whether it’s easy to make room for a new version or simply focus on the HomePod mini.
Bloomberg worked with technology specialist iFixit to discover some of the details of the HomePod mini’s temperature and humidity sensor, allegedly manufactured by Texas Instruments under model number HDC2010. The sensor detects relative humidity and can read temperatures between -40 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit. This wide range means that it could be used to monitor the temperatures in electronic devices to check for overheating, but this would be unlikely for the HomePod mini, which should not experience heavy calculations that would exceed the limits of its Apple S5 processor. which is also used in Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch SE.
Uses of the HomePod sensor
The location of the sensor is telling, positioned right inside the outer case and next to the power cord, which means that its purpose seems more likely to be to measure the temperature and humidity of the room than to check the overheated components. This usage will align well with the HomePod mini’s ability to interact with HomeKit devices. HomeKit is Apple’s smart home protocol and can connect to thermostats, fans, air conditioners, window shades and other compatible devices. By checking the temperature in the room, a future version of HomePod mini software could intelligently open or close window shadows to take advantage or protect from the heat of the sun.
While some HomeKit devices already contain temperature sensors, they may not be located in the same room as the HomePod mini. Ideally, air conditioning and central heating should provide an equal temperature throughout the house, but in practice there tend to be warmer and colder rooms, sometimes depending on the time of day. Room temperature and humidity measurements from the Texas Instruments sensor could one day allow the HomePod mini to customize central heating and cooling operation for a particular room or enable local devices to adjust for maximum comfort. Because the Apple Smart Speaker contains microphones, it may feel that the rooms are busy and may adjust the air conditioning accordingly. The HomePod mini’s temperature and humidity sensor is currently inactive, but it may be woken up at some point to expand Apple’s smart speaker capabilities to provide an enhanced HomeKit experience.
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