The HomePod mini has a secret sensor waiting to be turned on – Apple's HomePod earbuds launched last November with new features like home intercom. However, part of the device remains a secret: sensors that measure temperature and humidity

The Cupertino, California-based tech giant has never released this component, and the device currently lacks features for consumers using them. The company has internally discussed using sensors to determine room temperature and humidity so that internet-connected thermostats can adjust various parts of the home to current conditions depending on those who know the situation. The hardware can also let the HomePod mini automatically trigger other actions, such as turning the fans on or off, depending on the temperature.

When Apple finally activates sensors, it will support a smart home strategy that is sometimes unfocused and lags behind competitors. Amazon's newest Echo speaker has a temperature sensor, while Google Nest sells sensors that can be placed in your home and plugged into a thermostat to adjust the temperature of each room.

The new features will be of particular benefit to Apple's software system called HomeKit that controls thermostats, lights, locks, plugs and other household appliances. HomeKit works with fewer gadgets than similar software from Amazon and Google, and Apple doesn't make its own smart home hardware outside of the HomePod and Apple TV streaming boxes. However, you can find about 40 HomeKit-compatible thermostats on Apple's website.

The 1.5 x 1.5 millimeter sensor is located on the bottom edge of the plastic-wrapped housing of the HomePod mini near the power cord. The location of the components was confirmed by iFixit, which dismantled one of the speakers following a request from Bloomberg News. This sensor is manufactured by Texas Instruments Inc. and is referred to as the HDC2010 digital temperature and humidity sensor by TechInsights, a company that analyzes components in electronics.

The section is located relatively far from the main internal components of the device. This means that it measures the external environment rather than the temperature of the speaker's other electronics. Many mobile devices contain sensors that can cause the device to slow down or disable features to prevent components from overheating.

While this is rare, this isn't the first time Apple has incorporated dormant technology into its devices. The 2008 iPod touch had a Bluetooth chip, but support for Bluetooth connectivity was enabled through software the following year.

Apple usually releases important HomePod software updates every fall. It's not clear if or when Apple will switch on the temperature sensor, but its presence in the HomePod mini devices already on sale suggests it's only a matter of time. An Apple spokesperson declined to comment.

Apple didn't have a serious offering in the smart home market with the original HomePod until 2018. The device was recently discontinued after weak sales. Some corporate decision makers fear that it may be too late for Apple to make a strong entry into the industry, especially as it focuses on other new categories such as virtual and augmented reality headsets and autonomous electric cars. Others believe that the company can take its time and customers will continue to be attracted.

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Some insiders blame Siri, Apple's voice recognition service, which is improving, but still behind Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, responsible for the lack of progress in their own countries. Whatever the reason, so far no unified strategy has emerged, said one person familiar with the situation. People were asked to remain anonymous to discuss sensitive issues. It comes after Apple tried to transform its smart home efforts with a new team formed in 2019.

apples continue to take advantage of this opportunity with updates for individual devices. Prior to discontinuing the larger HomePod, the company had been working on an updated version for release in 2022. New speakers with screens and cameras have also been developed, but such a launch isn't expected anytime soon. Apple is also updating the Apple TV set-top box. Until then, Apple will likely try to unlock most of the features in the HomePod mini.

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