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New features of HomePod with iOS 14

HomePod with iOS 14

The HomePod is Apple’s smart speaker, a competition from many others like Amazon Echo, Google Home and several other music players that are also equipped with an artificial intelligence assistant.

Like the incredibly popular Echo, the HomePod can play music and also perform several useful functions, such as informing you about the music playing, setting timers, searching for and transmitting information found on the web, reading your text messages, or scheduling calendar appointments, among others. 

In this article, we are going to explain exactly everything you can do with the HomePod, in addition to discussing the new features that seem to be associated with the new version of the iOS 14 operating system scheduled for September 2020. 

The current price of the HomePod is € 329 so you can buy one at the official Apple store . At this point in the year, we are still hearing rumors about the possible arrival of the new HomePod 2 that would be cheaper, so you may prefer to wait to buy one.

One of the advantages of HomePod is the fact that Apple continues to regularly update software and add new features. As a result, Apple’s smart speaker has much more to say than when it launched the first generation in 2018.

First, we’ll take a look at the new features coming this year associated with iOS 14, before looking at everything the HomePod can do thanks to subsequent updates.

HomePod features that come with iOS 14

iOS 14 will bring a host of new features to HomePod, including the option to choose a third-party streaming music streaming service, such as Spotify, as the default option, and improved integration with Apple TV and HomeKit.

It is now possible to play Spotify music on HomePod, but this must be done through AirPlay.

 The new feature means that Spotify and other services like Pandora will work with HomePod, so you can set them as your default music service and use Siri to control playback, rather than having to use the iPhone. 

Users will also be able to replace Apple Books with audiobook options such as Kindle or similar ones. 

The new software will also bring better integration with HomeKit ( Apple’s software framework for controlling home appliances). For example, if someone rings your doorbell and you have a HomeKit camera, you will receive an announcement on the HomePod that will tell you who is at the door.

HomePod features that came with iOS 12

  • Users can make phone calls directly from the HomePod (previously users had to make or receive a call on an iPhone and then pass it to the HomePod).
  • You can listen to voice messages on your HomePod.
  • The HomePod works with ‘Find My iPhone’ so you can request to play a sound on a lost iPhone (or any other Apple device you have configured for the service).
  • Possibility to configure more than one timer. One of the most frustrating omissions of the HomePod at launch was that it was not possible to configure more than one timer. Apple fixed it with the iOS 12 update.
  • Change the Wi-Fi network to which HomePod is connected. At launch, the HomePod would automatically join the iPhone’s Wi-Fi network. After the iOS 12 update, you could choose any other manually.
  • iOS 12 also brought improved language support for more countries.
  • The HomePod can stream the audio of FaceTime group calls.
  • You can search songs by lyrics. So if you don’t know the name of a song, you can say: “Hi Siri, play the song that says …” And quote the lyrics you know.
  • You can activate Siri Shortcuts through HomePod. This makes a big difference in how HomePod works with your HomeKit-associated home automation accessories. 

Apple HomePod Features

When Apple released the HomePod in February 2018, it was praised as a sizable speaker, but with competition from Amazon and Google hitting hard, the HomePod’s less impressive AI put it somewhat at a disadvantage.

Most reviews focused on highlighting Siri’s shortcomings as a smart assistant that it couldn’t do with the HomePod. The limitations were the result of how Siri did not bring out the best in himself, something that he did with other environments. 

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However, some of these reviews were a bit unfair, as we discovered when we compared the HomePod face-to-face with the Google Home and Amazon Echo. Take a look at our in-depth article on how to use HomePod. 

Here is what the HomePod allows you to do: 

  • Play music from Apple Music and use various Siri commands to play certain songs, albums, artists, or music genres or get information about the artist, or to “play other songs like this”.
  • Play any music you have purchased from the iTunes Music Store.
  • Play any music through your iPhone, be it a Spotify playlist, a radio station or otherwise obtained music. You can use AirPlay on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to stream it to HomePod.
  • Play podcasts.
  • Get a Podcast news roundup by asking Siri to “give me the news.”
  • Control your HomeKit gadgets.
  • Make and receive phone calls.
  • Configure automations so that a single command can trigger a series of events. For example, say Goodnight and have Siri take the command on your HomePod and turn off the TV and lights. 
  • Read and reply to your messages.
  • Set timers and alarms.
  • Know what the traffic will be like on your trip.
  • Know what the weather will be like.
  • Get local movie hours.
  • Provide information that could be obtained by searching the Internet, such as the opening hours of your local supermarket.
  • Play music directly from your iPhone without connecting to a wifi network.
  • Translate. For example, you could ask: “Hello Siri, how do you say Good night in German?”
  • Orthography. Similarly, if you’re not sure how to spell a word, you can ask Siri on the HomePod to spell it for you.

The HomePod is not just a speaker as it has quite ingenious technology inside which means it is capable of producing high quality sound, maximizes bass without distortion and uses the A8 chip to analyze where it is located. 

HomePod features that came with iOS 13

The HomePod was expected to get a number of new features with the arrival of iOS 13 in September 2019, however, these new features were not available at the time of launch. 

Instead, some arrived in mid-October 2019, while for others we had to wait several months later. This is all you can do with your HomePod today: 

  • Siri on HomePod can be asked to play a radio station. This means that it is no longer necessary to transmit radio from an iPhone to a HomePod using AirPlay (which would drain your iPhone’s battery).

When iOS 13.2 arrived on October 28, 2019, the HomePod obtained the following features:

  • The HomePod can recognize your voice and only reveal private information to you. One of the problems with the HomePod is that, if it is linked to a particular Apple ID, you can read and reply to messages and add and cancel appointments in the calendar. 
  • In connection with this, there is now support for multiple users, so the Apple ID of more than one person can be linked to a HomePod.
  • You can use the ‘Transfer’ function to transfer what you are listening on your iPhone to the HomePod. For example, when you get home after your workday, you can comfortably ‘transfer’ the music you listened to on your iPhone to your HomePod.
  • There is also better integration with the Shortcuts application in iOS 13, for better automation within ‘Scenes’.

When iOS 13.3 arrived on December 10, it bought the following features and improvements:

  • Improved the HomePod’s ability to recognize voice profiles.
  • Family members can now enable / disable personal requests
  • We also fixed an issue that prevented music playback from resuming normally on stereo headphones after receiving a phone call and answering it on HomePod. 

Features of the HomePod that came with iOS 12

  • Users can make phone calls directly from the HomePod (previously users had to make or receive a call on an iPhone and then pass it to the HomePod).
  • You can listen to voice messages on your HomePod.
  • The HomePod works with ‘Find My iPhone’ so you can request to play a sound on a lost iPhone (or any other Apple device you have configured for the service).
  • Possibility to configure more than one timer. One of the most frustrating omissions of the HomePod at launch was that it was not possible to configure more than one timer. Apple fixed it with the iOS 12 update.
  • Change the Wi-Fi network to which HomePod is connected. At launch, the HomePod would automatically join the iPhone’s Wi-Fi network. After the iOS 12 update, you could choose any other manually.
  • iOS 12 also brought improved language support for more countries.
  • The HomePod can stream the audio of FaceTime group calls.
  • You can search songs by lyrics. So if you don’t know the name of a song, you can say: “Hi Siri, play the song that says …” And quote the lyrics you know.
  • You can activate Siri Shortcuts through HomePod. This makes a big difference in how HomePod works with your HomeKit-associated home automation accessories

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