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This article was published on March 22, 2021

Apple’s next HomePod may come with a screen and camera

And the HomePod Mini has a hidden temperature and humidity sensor

Apple’s next HomePod may come with a screen and camera

Apple is reportedly “developing new speakers with screens and cameras,” according to the ever-reliable Mark Gurman reporting for Bloomberg.

(This news is sure to make my colleague Callum, who just wrote a piece wishing for a HomePod with a screen last week, rather happy.)

The company had reportedly been developing an updated HomePod for a 2022 release before the line was discontinued. It appears the display-enabled model might eventually serve as a replacement, however, “such a launch isn’t imminent,” writes Gruman.

The news comes as just a couple of lines in an article mostly about another surprising bit of Apple news: the HomePod Mini has a hidden temperature and humidity sensor. It’s an itsy-bitsy piece, at just 1.5 x 1.5 millimeters, and it’s made by Texas Instruments.

Credit: iFixit/Bloomberg
The HomePod Mini’s temperature sensor measures just 1.5 x 1.5 mm.

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iFixit confirmed the location of the sensor after an inquiry from Bloomberg. The sensor has been there since the device’s launch in November, but has not yet been activated by Apple for reasons unknown.

Credit: iFixit/Bloomberg
Another view of the temperature sensor.

It’s rare for the company to include unused hardware, but not completely unprecedented; the 2008 iPod came with a disabled Bluetooth chip, and though it wasn’t exactly a secret, the iPhone 11’s ultra-wideband chip was barely useful at launch.

Considering the company chose to abandon the larger HomePod to focus on HomePod mini, perhaps we’ll see the sensor be enabled in a future update.

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