The HomePod mini has a few secrets hiding under its mesh-covered exterior, including a sensor that can measure the temperature and humidity of the room it’s in.
That’s according to a report from Bloomberg, corroborated by an analysis by teardown experts iFixit. From the looks of things, it would only take a software update to activate the sensor and better integrate the mini-speaker into your smart-home system.
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The sensor is only 1.5 millimeters square and is located at the bottom edge of the HomePod mini, right by the power cable. It’s been identified by TechInsights, a firm that analyses internal electronic components, as the "HDC2010 Humidity and Temperature Digital Sensor” — a pretty self-explanatory name.
As it's so close to the edge of the speaker, the sensor is likely designed for monitoring the external environment. Sensors can also monitor internal electronics, and many devices have them for safety reasons. But that doesn’t seem likely in this instance, since the chip would have to be much closer to the center of the HomePod mini to be an effective internal sensor.
HomePod mini temperature and humidity sensor: What it means
There are already third-party environmental sensors that are compatible with Apple’s HomeKit, but having one in the HomePod mini means a whole new level of convenience. Most people will have a smart speaker connected to their smart-home devices already, and merging the two types of device saves money, space, and the effort of getting everything set up correctly.
The idea is to let you set up your home so that certain smart-home devices will switch on or off based on changes in the local environment. That could include automatically switching on a fan or air conditioner once the temperature reaches a certain level, or a warning if the humidity is getting a little too high.
The fact that the sensor is already built into the HomePod mini means Apple could activate it with a small update to the speaker’s software. Apple could also just leave it there doing nothing. It all depends on whether the company actually wants to take advantage of this feature in the future.
With Apple being Apple, we’re not likely to hear about any future plans until they actually happen. So we’re just going to have to be patient and see what happens.
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