Apple’s HomePod mini smart speaker boasts a hidden sensor, currently left dormant, that can be used to measure temperature and humidity. The sensor could be someday enabled via a future software update.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman’s reports:
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.
Apple typically releases major HomePod software updates annually in the fall. It’s unclear if or when Apple 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. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.
The component measures 1.5 x 1.5mm and is hidden away in the bottom edge of the HomePod mini’s plastic case, near the power cable. iFixit has confirmed the sensor’s existence, following an inquiry by Bloomberg.
The sensor is manufactured by Texas Instruments, which calls it a “HDC2010 Humidity and Temperature Digital Sensor,” according to TechInsights, a firm that analyses components inside of electronics.
The component’s location in the device indicates it is designed to measure the external environment, rather than being an internal diagnostic role.
Although simply because a component exists, it doesn’t mean that it is guaranteed that Apple will enable it down the line. However, Apple has in the past done so. A noted in the Bloomberg article,. the 2008 iPod touch had a Bluetooth chip, which was enabled the following year via a software update.
By enabling the HomePod mini sensor, Apple could pave the way for using the mini and HomeKit to offer features to those already offered by Amazon’s latest Echo speakers.
(Image via Fixit)