Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports that every HomePod mini sports an undocumented Texas Instruments temperature and humidity sensor. iFixit confirmed the report by disassembling a HomePod mini and identifying the chip, whose location suggests that it’s designed to monitor the external environment rather than the internal state of the HomePod mini’s electronics.
Gurman speculates on the intention of the chip and whether Apple plans to activate it or not. Josh Centers, author of Take Control of Apple Home Automation), has a couple of thoughts:
- Apple may have planned to make this feature public initially but cut it at the last minute over fear of losing its few HomeKit partners. Eve makes the Eve Room, which senses temperature and humidity, and this HomePod mini capability could hurt Eve’s sales significantly.
- The Home app’s support for sensors is weak. I have to use the Eve app to create an automation to trigger my dehumidifier when the humidity is high, even though Eve is just a front end to HomeKit, exactly like Apple’s Home app (see “A Prairie HomeKit Companion: The Elgato Eve Room,” 19 June 2017). Perhaps Apple is waiting to release an improved Home app before implementing the feature.
It’s also entirely possible that Apple will never use the sensor for anything and that it will disappear from future builds of the HomePod mini.