Apple’s HomePod mini includes a hidden sensor that measures temperature and humidity, potentially providing the means to power upcoming features that could arrive in a future software update, according to Bloomberg.
Humidity and temperature sensor from a HomePod mini. Source: iFixit (via Bloomberg).
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.
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 sensor’s existence was confirmed by iFixit after an inquiry by Bloomberg, and measures 1.5 x 1.5mm. The component is buried in the bottom edge of the HomePod mini’s plastic case, near the power cable.
The sensor is made 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 part is situated relatively far from the device’s main internal components, meaning it is designed to measure the external environment rather than the temperature of the speaker’s other electronics.
As Bloomberg notes, if Apple decides to enable the sensor, it could pave the way for a more focused smart-home strategy via HomeKit, which controls thermostats, lights, locks, plugs and other devices in the home.
It could also help HomeKit rival similar features already offered by competitors. Amazon’s latest Echo speakers include temperature sensors, while Google sells sensors under its Nest brand that can be placed around homes and connect to its thermostats to adjust the temperature of each room.