Friday, Mar 26, 2021, 10:27 Hardware

HomePod mini Secret Sensor – Temperature Measurement?

The HomePod mini appears to have not yet revealed its full potential. According to a report from Bloomberg, there's hardware inside the devices for features that aren't yet supported by the HomePod mini's current OS. However, support for these features, which include measuring temperature and humidity, could easily be added at a later date via a software update. Apple hasn't addressed the rumors and there's nothing in the smart speaker's support documents suggesting the existence of the hardware, despite evidence to the contrary.

Sensor From Texas Instruments
Repair specialists from iFixit have confirmed the existence of the mysterious temperature sensor firs reported by Bloomberg. The sensor, with the product code "HDC2010 Humidity and Temperature Digital Sensor", is developed by Texas Instruments and measures 1.5 x 1.5 millimetres – thus, not a component that's easily spotted by the naked eye after opening the device.



The sensor is built in next to the charging port, and according to specialists from TechInsights, it has enough distance between itself and the speaker's warmer interior components to give an accurate reading of temperatures outside of the speaker.

A close up of the sensor from Bloomberg.

Temperature Sensor For HomeKit Products
As there's no official documentation nor acknowledgement of the sensor's existence, we can currently only speculate as to its likely future intended purpose, although Bloomberg cites sources in Cupertino to sketch out Apple's plans for the sensor. According to these sources, the component was built into the device without an immediate intended use – however, Apple wanted to leave the hardware option available and not have to wait on the HomePod mini 2 should they decide to support it. There are still discussions within the company about the best use for the chip. It's likely to be eventually connected to HomeKit so that third-party products with HomeKit support can access its data.

Intended Uses
Thermostats with HomeKit integration control the heating and/or AC (where available) in accordance with the current interior temperature. Given that the sensor is also capable of measuring humidity, this could point to further functions in countries or continents where AC is less common (such as Europe) – and where windows, blinds, and curtains, must occasionally be opened to ventilate against mould. When, or even if Apple plans to provide support for the recently discovered hardware, is unknown.

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