Apple’s HomePod mini smart speakers have a hidden yet undetected temperature and humidity sensor at the bottom edge of the plastic wrap near the power cable, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
This sensor may provide a means to operate upcoming features that could arrive via a future software update.
The precise location of the sensor has been confirmed by iFixit, and appears to be positioned further from the internal components of the amplifier so that it can measure the outside temperature.
The precise sensor in use is Texas Instruments’ HDC2010 digital humidity and temperature sensor measuring 1.5 x 1.5 mm.
Although the sensor cannot currently be used by HomePod mini owners, Apple has discussed internally allowing the sensor to provide information to other smart home devices, such as thermostats or fans.
This could give smart heating equipment more information about the room temperature or allow the amplifier to operate a device, such as a fan, if it feels the room has reached a certain temperature.
The function can operate via HomeKit, Apple’s smart home system, which currently integrates with dozens of internet-connected thermostats.
Amazon has previously included temperature sensors in its Echo speakers such as the 2020 model year, where the sensor can be used to operate other devices via Alexas voice assistant actions.
Meanwhile, Google sells stand-alone sensors via its Nest sub-brand, and the Nest Hub announced last week also includes a similar built-in sensor to help monitor your room’s temperature while you sleep.
Although Apple declined to comment on the Bloomberg report, on at least one occasion it included a device in one that only officially activated after months.
The 2008 iPod touch included a Bluetooth chip, but it wasn’t until a year after its release that it was able to connect to Bluetooth devices.
The hope remains that an upcoming software update for the HomePod mini will allow this sensor to work, and Apple typically releases a new flagship firmware for the HomePod every fall.