While Apple’s HomePod mini speaker launched last November with new features such as a home intercom system, there was one feature that wasn’t revealed. Apple placed a sensor that measures temperature and humidity, and forgot to mention it, or maybe deliberately so.
According to a Bloomberg report, the Cupertino, California-based technology giant never disclosed this component and the device currently lacks consumer-facing features that use it. The company has internally discussed using the sensor to determine a room’s temperature and humidity so internet-connected thermostats can adjust different parts of a home-based on current conditions, according to people familiar with the situation. The hardware could also let the HomePod mini automatically trigger other actions, say turning a fan on or off, depending on the temperature.
If Apple does enable this feature, it would bolster a smart-home strategy that has sometimes lacked focus and trailed those of rivals. Amazon.com Inc.’s latest Echo speakers have temperature sensors, while Google’s Nest sells sensors that can be placed around homes and connect to its thermostats to adjust the temperature of each room.
As it stands, the sensor, measuring 1.5 by 1.5 millimeters, is buried in the bottom edge of the HomePod mini’s plastic, fabric-wrapped case near its power cable. The sensor is made by Texas Instruments Inc. and is called the HDC2010 Humidity and Temperature Digital Sensor, according to TechInsights, a firm that analyses components inside of electronics.
Although Apple refused to comment on the matter, it is unclear whether the tech giant will switch on the temperature sensor, but its presence in HomePod mini-units that have already sold suggests that this is just a matter of time.