Apple unveils new AirPods; HomePod Mini gets more colour and appeal
There was a genuine sense of excitement about what Apple was planning with the Mac computing lines, ahead of the Unleashed keynote. They didn’t disappoint, with the new MacBook Pro 16, the new MacBook Pro 14 and two chips that set a new benchmark in performance and battery life in the world of portable computing devices, including laptops from the Windows ecosystem. Yet, the audio wasn’t to be ignored. Apple updated the HomePod Mini with new colours and a new Apple Music voice plan that makes Siri control your Apple Music subscription. But what did induce a collective sigh of relief for many would be the third generation update for the AirPods wireless earbuds.
Apple Music voice plan
Even if you don’t own an Apple iPhone or iPad or Mac, Apple has extended complete access to more than 90 million songs on Apple Music with just your voice, on your HomePod smart speaker. This will be priced at ₹49 per month for the voice only access on smart speakers and rolls out in 17 countries including India, later this year. This will include Lossless Audio and Spatial Audio music as well.
“With Siri actively used on hundreds of millions of devices worldwide, we are thrilled to add this new plan that delivers an effortless music experience just by using your voice and makes Apple Music accessible to even more people around the world,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats.
The existing Apple Music plans, ₹99 per month for individuals and ₹149 per month for sharing the subscription with up to 6 accounts, continue to be available.
HomePod Mini gets colourful
The Apple HomePod Mini smart speaker now adds three new colour options — yellow, orange and blue. Match your mood, your home décor or simply add a dash of youthfulness to your home.
They sit alongside the white and space grey colours that were already on sale. The price remains the same, that’s ₹9,990, and the new colours go on sale in India sometime in November. The innards remain the same, with the 360-degree audio design, the Apple S5 chip for the software along with the audio hardware, which includes a full-range audio driver a pair of passive radiators and neodymium magnets.
AirPods finally get the 3rd generation
These are the third generation Apple AirPods with Spatial Audio, Dolby Atmos and wholesale changes to the design as well as the audio hardware inside each wireless earbud. They are sweat and water resistant, with a new design that is closer in a way to the AirPods Pro wireless earbuds. That includes the design of the case too.
The new audio drivers with adaptive EQ will take advantage of the computational audio algorithms, which will rely on data from head tracking, microphones that detect ambient noise and a new speech codec for FaceTime calls. They will return up to 30 hours of total music listening time, which is more than before. The previous generation AirPods as well as the AirPods Pro will remain on sale. The third generation AirPods are priced at ₹18,500. The second generation AirPods, which have been around since their launch in March 2019, now get a lower price tag of ₹12,900 while the AirPods Pro will continue to retail for ₹24,900.