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Apple HomePod update brings Intercom and other new features

Apple has announced the HomePod mini, the company’s latest Siri powered smart speaker. The Homepod mini as the name suggest is a miniature version of HomePod that has a new circular bowl-shaped design, wrapped in mesh fabric. For controls the backlit touch will be on top of the device.Apple HomePod users will now be able to use the Intercom feature to send messages to multiple HomePods in the house. This feature has now been released as part of iOS 14.1 which is available for download. This update also includes bug fixes and improvements.

The biggest highlight of the new software version 14.1 is the arrival of intercom functionality on Apple’s flagship smart speaker. The update allows multiple HomePod smart speakers to work as an intercom system, meaning you ask your children to come for “dinner” without yelling.

Intercom is not a very new feature for smart speakers. Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Nest speakers have already allowed multiple speakers to work as a single intercom system for years. However, the advantage of having a HomePod over the Echo speaker or Nest Audio is the ecosystem it provides. Also, later this year  Apple will add intercom support for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch,  AirPods and CarPlay.

The new update  in addition to the support for intercom this update will also bring new Siri features to the HomePod.  You can now ask Siri on HomePod to search the web for you and then read the results on your iPad, plus there’s multi-user support for podcasts. Not just that, the HomePod is also boosted with the ability to customise songs for you, with personal songs or playlist on Apple Music. Apple will bring more features to the HomePod later this year, including the ability to pair the smart speaker with Apple TV 4K to stream Dolby Atmos, as well as 5.1 and 7.1 audio. The HomePod retails for Rs 19,900 in India.

Another major feature in this update is Intercom which will allow the HomePod to make announcements to other HomePod speakers in your Home. You can use the feature with all HomePod speakers in your home or some specific ones in rooms. The new HomePod Software update also brings several other facilities to the table as well, like the ability to add music to your alarms. If we talk about the performance, the latest update adds optimizations for Siri performance and  improvements of controlling other speakers using Siri. It has also fixed issues in which speakers connected to play stereo sound would be out of sync.

During the recently held iPhone 12 event, Apple has introduced a new smart speaker called HomePod Mini. The mini HomePod uses the Apple Watch chip to run Siri and audio processing. Apple said that their smart speaker will  work with Apple Music and several other services, including Amazon Music. The HomePod Mini will be in Indian markets from next month.The HomePod Mini will cost Rs 9,900, and it will start shipping from November 16.