Apple’s HomePod mini smart speaker has an as-yet-undisclosed temperature and humidity sensor in its casing, Bloomberg reports. The sensor’s exact location was confirmed by iFixit, and it appears to be placed away from the speaker’s internal components so it can measure the external temperature. The exact sensor used is a 1.5 x 1.5mm HDC2010 Humidity and Temperature Digital Sensor from Texas Instruments.
Although the sensor isn’t currently usable by HomePod mini owners, according to Bloomberg, Apple has internally discussed allowing the sensor to provide information to other smart home devices like thermostats or fans. This could give smart heating equipment more information about how warm a room is or allow the speaker to trigger a device like a fan if it senses a room has reached a certain temperature. The functionality could work via HomeKit, Apple’s smart home ecosystem, which currently integrates with dozens of internet-connected thermostats.
Amazon has previously included temperature sensors in Echo speakers like its 2020 model, where the sensor can be used to trigger other devices via Alexa routines. Meanwhile, Google sells standalone sensors via its Nest sub-brand, and its Nest Hub announced last week also includes a similar built-in sensor to help monitor your room’s temperature while you sleep.
Although Apple declined to comment to Bloomberg on its report (and did not immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment), on at least one occasion, it’s included hardware in a device that’s only been officially activated months later. Its 2008 iPod touch included a Bluetooth chip, Bloomberg notes, but it wasn’t able to connect with Bluetooth devices until the year after its release. The hope is that a similar software update may be on the way for the HomePod mini. For those keeping track, major new HomePod firmware tends to release in the fall of each year.