(Pocket-lint) - The Apple HomePod mini smart speaker features a temperature and humidity sensor within its shell, though users are so far unable to experience the advantages of the hidden component.
That's according to a new report by Bloomberg, with the find confirmed in a teardown by iFixit, which states that the previously secret sensor is placed away from the speaker's other internal components in order to measure external temperature effectively.
The exact sensor is identified as a 1.5mm x 1.5mm HDC2010 Humidity and Temperature Digital Sensor from Texas Instruments, with Apple reportedly discussing its use internally. It's thought that it could eventually be used to provide information for other devices in the smart home, such as thermostats or fans.
In theory, it could be able to provide room temperature information to another device and let it adjust accordingly. Given that the HomePod mini is one of the few 'hub' devices to feature support for Thread, too, these integrations with other smart home devices in the HomeKit ecosystem should be more secure, speedy and efficient than some alternatives, as well.
Of course, this isn't the first time we've seen such a sensor in a smart home device. Amazon's second-generation Echo Plus featured one, as does the newer fourth-generation Echo Dot, with both able to be used to help trigger Alexa Routines. The Google Nest Hub - announced last week - will also measure room temperature while a user sleeps.
The most pertinent question, then, would relate to just when Apple is planning to 'switch on' the temperature sensor.
However, with that in mind, it's worth pointing out that it's not completely uncommon to see chips and other hardware bits included in devices and then never used. Sonos, for example, included two microphones in its 2015 Play Five speaker that were never harnessed.
It's certainly one to keep a track of, regardless, and something that Apple may expand on at some point in 2021.
HomeKit and HomePod have been the elephant in the room during recent Apple keynotes, but, with the original HomePod now officially discontinued, the Cupertino giant may be ready to take advantage of the fresh start.