If you've been waiting for Apple to make a smaller, more affordable smart speaker, you're in luck. The HomePod Mini, unveiled in one of several virtual Apple events this fall, is available for preorder ahead of the holiday shopping season. Customers in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Spain, the UK and the US can now order the HomePod Mini on Apple's website.
The HomePod Mini is the $99 smart speaker Apple announced in October. It'll be available in white and space gray, priced at $99 (£99, AU$149). That's the same price as the newest (also spherical) Amazon Echo and Google's brand-new Nest Audio.
Interest in the HomePod Mini appears to be high in some regions, with Apple already pushing back shipping dates. As of Wednesday, the HomePod Mini in space gray had an expected shipping time of four to five weeks. The white version of the speaker was at two to three weeks.
Like the original HomePod, the Mini features a backlit touch surface for volume and Siri controls. It includes helpful features like Intercom, Apple CarPlay integration, stereo pairing and multiroom audio.
Watch this: Apple makes its smart home more accessible with a $99 HomePod Mini
The HomePod Mini is significantly smaller than its predecessor. Wrapped in a mesh fabric, it measures 3.3 inches tall and 3.9 inches wide (84 by 98 millimeters) and weighs 0.76 pounds (345 grams). By comparison, Amazon's new, similarly spherical fourth-gen Echo Dot is 3.5 inches tall, and Google's puck-shaped Nest Mini is 1.65 inches tall.
Music streaming services for the HomePod Mini will include Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Radio.com and TuneIn at release. Amazon Music is slated for a future update, and there's no word on any availability for Spotify or YouTube Music.
When it comes to privacy, Apple promises that nothing you say is sent out of your home until you tap for Siri or reach out via voice. You can also choose whether Apple saves your audio recordings. Personal requests will only work when your iPhone is at home with you, and requests are saved with Anonymous ID.
This small smart speaker could be the smart home breakthrough Apple needs to secure a foothold in the market. The HomePod Mini will be available for purchase in stores and online Nov. 16.