HomePod private beta could be testing voice calls, multiple timers

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The HomePod could enable users to place phone calls through the smart speaker, a report on a private beta for HomePod OS 12 claims, with the array of incoming new features for the audio device including the ability to use it as a speakerphone for a wirelessly-connected iPhone.




Once connected to an iPhone, the HomePod will allow users to make outbound calls and answer inbound communications, redial numbers, search the call log, perform emergency calls, and to listen to the user's voicemail, reports iGeneration. It is unclear if the same system will allow for audio FaceTime calls, nor if it will allow for calls to route through a local Wi-Fi network instead of cellular.

The ability to make and receive calls is similar to features already available on the HomePod's main competitors. Amazon's Echo range and the Alexa app allow for calls to be placed to other Echo devices owned by contacts, while Google Home is capable of making hands-free calls for users, without requiring a smartphone for the connection.

Another useful feature for iPhone owners will be the ability to use "Find My iPhone" through the HomePod, asking the speaker to locate the smartphone instead of accessing a computer or another iOS device.

via iGeneration.
via iGeneration.


For those who regularly need to switch the Wi-Fi network the HomePod is connected to, a "fix Wi-Fi" function will allow users to make the HomePod connect to the same local connection as their iPhone. In theory, this would make the network switch without needing to reset the HomePod, a maneuver that's currently needed to accomplish the same task.

Lastly, the HomePod will enable users to set multiple timers. A complaint heard in multiple reviews of the device, users will be able to start and manage more than one timer, making it more useful in cookery and other situations where many things have to be timed separately.

While these features are supposedly available in the private beta, it is possible Apple could hold back one or more of the functions from public release. It is anticipated that Apple will ship an update for the HomePod containing one or more new features this fall, to coincide with the release of macOS 10.14 Mojave, iOS 12, tvOS 12, and watchOS 5.
jahblade
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,291member
    Wonder if the you-know-who's will still claim these are useless features if/when they come to the HomePod. Personally I think these will be appreciated additions. 

    Solijahblade
  • Reply 2 of 24
    hagarhagar Posts: 108member
    The biggest news is multiple timers? What about multiple user support? Or are the majority of Apple users hipster single home dwellers?
    joshbishwilliamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 24
    These will be welcome additions.  My main request is multiple user support but that may be ahead of its time.  It is very important that Apple authenticates who it is and what is shared audibly.  Unfortunately I think this is waaaaaaay more complicated than multiple users on a device.
    jahbladeAppleZuluwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 24
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,291member
    These will be welcome additions.  My main request is multiple user support but that may be ahead of its time.  It is very important that Apple authenticates who it is and what is shared audibly.  Unfortunately I think this is waaaaaaay more complicated than multiple users on a device.
    If they're going to allow call acceptance and send then multi-user support might be necessary. 
    techprod1gy
  • Reply 5 of 24
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,690member
    I'm sure there are many that will scoff at the idea of multiple timers, but they're very handy. I jut hope you can also name the titles, like with Alexa.

    hagar said:
    The biggest news is multiple timers? What about multiple user support? Or are the majority of Apple users hipster single home dwellers?
    These will be welcome additions.  My main request is multiple user support but that may be ahead of its time.  It is very important that Apple authenticates who it is and what is shared audibly.  Unfortunately I think this is waaaaaaay more complicated than multiple users on a device.
    I assume that multiple users are coming, but that's considerable harder to code and get right than multiple timers.
    jahbladetechprod1gy
  • Reply 6 of 24
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,792member
    gatorguy said:
    Wonder if the you-know-who's will still claim these are useless features if/when they come to the HomePod. Personally I think these will be appreciated additions. 

    Well to some this a worthless product anyways and always will be. Siri will always suck no matter how much Apple improves it and adds features to HomePod. It's already stuck in their head this is a shitty product. 

    Apple is doing exactly what I said they were doing. They made sure the hardware was really good and worked really well and just released it with basic features to get it out the door. Apple can always fix software and add features after they ship, but it's nearly impossible to change shitty hardware once its been shipped. 
    jahbladedewmeracerhomie3StrangeDayswatto_cobrawilliamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 24
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,792member

    These will be welcome additions.  My main request is multiple user support but that may be ahead of its time.  It is very important that Apple authenticates who it is and what is shared audibly.  Unfortunately I think this is waaaaaaay more complicated than multiple users on a device.
    Maybe they could authenticate with a device at first until Apple gets voice working better? You know what's gonna happen....Apple would release it and everyone would try (and probably succeed to some extent) to fool it and then say how shitty of an implementation it is, just like with FaceTime, TouchID, etc. 

    All of these additions people would like to see will come in time. iPhone didn't have every single feature right off, Apple Watch didn't, iPod didn't, iPad didn't, etc. It takes time to get these features implemented, tested and out the door. Some just don't get it. 
    edited July 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 24
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,829member
    How the heck does Siri not already allow you to set multiple timers.  Baffling.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 24
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    macxpress said:
    gatorguy said:
    Wonder if the you-know-who's will still claim these are useless features if/when they come to the HomePod. Personally I think these will be appreciated additions. 

    Well to some this a worthless product anyways and always will be. Siri will always suck no matter how much Apple improves it and adds features to HomePod. It's already stuck in their head this is a shitty product. 

    Apple is doing exactly what I said they were doing. They made sure the hardware was really good and worked really well and just released it with basic features to get it out the door. Apple can always fix software and add features after they ship, but it's nearly impossible to change shitty hardware once its been shipped. 
    Yup, sounds obvious when you say it. Probably won’t use the new features, but if it’ll cut down on the whining then bring it on. What I would like to see is more interoperability between the pod and my phone. If I ask it for directions then it should either defer to the phone or send the directions there. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 24
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,851member
     nor if it will allow for calls to route through a local Wi-Fi network instead of cellular. 

    One would think that the calls would go through the phone. So, it wouldn't matter if the phone was using a cell signal or WiFi Assist.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 24
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,041member
    I haven't had a need for Multi-Timers, but I can see that as being useful for people. Voice Calls? Would I ever use it? Again, I don't see much need for that myself, but again, a useful feature for many.

    Multi-User support I think is the biggest needed feature. How about that? Remember though, the HomePod has been out a lot less than Google Home let alone Amazon Echo's. It's not going to happen over night. On the other hand, it should happen faster than it is. It's not a cheap device and so should have support for many of these things already.

    I do have to say that the Mics on it really pick up my voice so good. I can be on the other side of my Bedroom with the HomePod on the other side of the room cranked up playing music, and I can almost wispier a Hey Siri and it hears me. Doing the same with my Amazon Dot and Google Mini, I pretty much have to Yell to get it to respond. So I can be in the Master Bathroom and speak normally to have the HomePod so what I want.

    I'm always for more capabilities.
    edited July 2018 StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 24
    smiffy31smiffy31 Posts: 173member
    How the heck does Siri not already allow you to set multiple timers.  Baffling.
    iOS does not have multiple timers, Siri is is a voice interface to iOS functionality, so it is normal that Siri does not allow this. There are probably hundreds of apps that allow multiple timers on the app store so this has never been a major problem, It still amazes me how much noise this one function can generate on the echo chamber.
    racerhomie3StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 24
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,690member
    smiffy31 said:
    How the heck does Siri not already allow you to set multiple timers.  Baffling.
    iOS does not have multiple timers, Siri is is a voice interface to iOS functionality, so it is normal that Siri does not allow this. There are probably hundreds of apps that allow multiple timers on the app store so this has never been a major problem, It still amazes me how much noise this one function can generate on the echo chamber.
    HomePod runs iOS as much as the iPhone runs macOS. It’s a unique OS built from a stripped down version of iOS (like how iOS was built from a stripped down version of macOS) but it’s a unique OS designed for the HW, it’s UI, and utility. That utility is in home use which is why multiple timers on then HomePod makes perfect sense.
  • Reply 14 of 24
    zroger73zroger73 Posts: 709member
    Here's an idea: How about fixing what's broken before adding new features?

    1. When using the HomePod as an AirPlay speaker, not all apps use it as an audio output even when the HomePod is set to the audio output device in the settings.

    2. Every time the Apple TV goes to sleep, it disconnects from the HomePod and defaults the audio output back to the TV.

    3. After playing audio to the HomePod using the Apple TV, the HomePod will no longer fulfill requests such as "Hey Siri, play smooth jazz". Instead, Siri says, "Hmm. I'm having trouble..." However, if I play then stop music from my iPhone, the HomePod will work properly.

    I've stopped using the HomePod as an Apple TV speaker because of these issues and reverted back to my Bose SoundLink via a Bluetooth connection. The connection is maintained and all the Apple TV's audio is output properly.
  • Reply 15 of 24
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,690member
    zroger73 said:
    Here's an idea: How about fixing what's broken before adding new features?

    1. When using the HomePod as an AirPlay speaker, not all apps use it as an audio output even when the HomePod is set to the audio output device in the settings.

    2. Every time the Apple TV goes to sleep, it disconnects from the HomePod and defaults the audio output back to the TV.

    3. After playing audio to the HomePod using the Apple TV, the HomePod will no longer fulfill requests such as "Hey Siri, play smooth jazz". Instead, Siri says, "Hmm. I'm having trouble..." However, if I play then stop music from my iPhone, the HomePod will work properly.

    I've stopped using the HomePod as an Apple TV speaker because of these issues and reverted back to my Bose SoundLink via a Bluetooth connection. The connection is maintained and all the Apple TV's audio is output properly.
    You should expect new features along with fixes to current ones. This is still a very new product. Think about how every new Apple OS has changed since it’s inception. watchOS is a great example of massive rewrites since v1.0.
    edited July 2018 StrangeDaysmacxpress
  • Reply 16 of 24
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 422member
    zroger73 said:
    Here's an idea: How about fixing what's broken before adding new features?

    1. When using the HomePod as an AirPlay speaker, not all apps use it as an audio output even when the HomePod is set to the audio output device in the settings.

    2. Every time the Apple TV goes to sleep, it disconnects from the HomePod and defaults the audio output back to the TV.

    3. After playing audio to the HomePod using the Apple TV, the HomePod will no longer fulfill requests such as "Hey Siri, play smooth jazz". Instead, Siri says, "Hmm. I'm having trouble..." However, if I play then stop music from my iPhone, the HomePod will work properly.

    I've stopped using the HomePod as an Apple TV speaker because of these issues and reverted back to my Bose SoundLink via a Bluetooth connection. The connection is maintained and all the Apple TV's audio is output properly.
    You should register those issues with Apple. I haven’t experienced #1 or #3. I wouldn’t have identified #2 as a problem, though I can see its potential for annoyance if a user’s intent is to routinely use a HomePod as the ATV’s default audio output.

    The main issue I’ve experienced has been some occasional difficulty in using the ATV’s controls to uncouple ATV from a HomePod in AirPlay 2 when the couping was originally initiated via the HomePod. That may or may not have already been resolved with the last round of OS patches.

    Also, perhaps the real issue with #3 is that “smooth jazz” is an abomination, and Siri may just be coyly trying to keep you from making the mistake of playing that stuff.
    edited July 2018 StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 24
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 705member
    hagar said:
    The biggest news is multiple timers? What about multiple user support? Or are the majority of Apple users hipster single home dwellers?
    No one in my home really uses the voice functions. I set the HP up with my account initially, but everyone in the house has an iPhone that they use to play music, a Youtube video or whatever. Same with the majority of family and friends. They want to play something out comes the iPhone or Ipad and it's on via airplay.

    So I guess I fit into the hipster single home dwellers category.. ??  I am confused why a single person household would be referred to as "Hipster", but hey.. it sounds cool. Hahaha 

    My personal usage is airplay speaker first, and voice assistant..never.  B)
    StrangeDaysmacxpresswatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 24
    AloysiusAloysius Posts: 41member
    zroger73 said:
    Here's an idea: How about fixing what's broken before adding new features?

    1. When using the HomePod as an AirPlay speaker, not all apps use it as an audio output even when the HomePod is set to the audio output device in the settings.

    2. Every time the Apple TV goes to sleep, it disconnects from the HomePod and defaults the audio output back to the TV.

    3. After playing audio to the HomePod using the Apple TV, the HomePod will no longer fulfill requests such as "Hey Siri, play smooth jazz". Instead, Siri says, "Hmm. I'm having trouble..." However, if I play then stop music from my iPhone, the HomePod will work properly.

    I've stopped using the HomePod as an Apple TV speaker because of these issues and reverted back to my Bose SoundLink via a Bluetooth connection. The connection is maintained and all the Apple TV's audio is output properly.
    As someone who routinely uses paired HomePods as the audio output of my AppleTV...

    1. This is annoying. Most big apps works fine (Netflix, etc) but some third party apps don’t work right. I’m guessing the developer isn’t checking some box, but Apple should just make it force it. 

    2. I don’t have this issue. The AppleTV and HomePod stay connected until I use my HomePod for something else. Which happens a lot, so I do have to reconnect a lot. It’s pretty simple but could be easier. Wish I could just use Siri to change audio output. 

    3. When I have my AppleTV and HomePod “paired”, and I say “Play...” it will play it through the AppleTV, routed to the HomePod (kinda backwards imo). If my AppleTV is off, it turns on my TV, since it is plugged into the HDMI-CEC connection. Maybe yours isn’t? 

    All that said, what I’ve read is that the latest beta allows you to more permanently set the HomePod as the default audio, but it will still have to be selected if you use your HomePod for something else. 

    Imo, it should be an easy fix. Instead of permanently pairing an AppleTV and HomePod, you should be able to tell the AppleTV to “look for” and connect to the specified homepod when you play content. If it can’t connect, it should have a dialog message. It would replace whatever is currently playing, just like airplay does currently. 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 24
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,292member
    macxpress said:
    gatorguy said:
    Wonder if the you-know-who's will still claim these are useless features if/when they come to the HomePod. Personally I think these will be appreciated additions. 

    Well to some this a worthless product anyways and always will be. Siri will always suck no matter how much Apple improves it and adds features to HomePod. It's already stuck in their head this is a shitty product. 

    Apple is doing exactly what I said they were doing. They made sure the hardware was really good and worked really well and just released it with basic features to get it out the door. Apple can always fix software and add features after they ship, but it's nearly impossible to change shitty hardware once its been shipped. 

    Worthless and shitty really can't be interchanged. Yes, I'm being an ass here, but in its current state, the HomePod is a worthless product *to me* simply because I don't value it for the price for what it delivers. Maybe in the future that will change. It might become a better device (and cost less); it might be my needs and tastes change. Right now, others may value it.

    That's different than shitty. Shitty implies to me that it is incomprehensible how any can value the product. I've run across a lot of shitty products, and HomePod doesn't seem shitty. Samesung and Microsoft stuff seems shitty to me. But to people that value that shit, it might not be shitty. Siri seems shitty to me, but I did't really pay for Siri, so it is hard to say it is worthless. I would say Siri is worth what I paid for it. 

    On a related topic I am toying with buying the Roku speakers. I have a lot of legacy audio gear that could use some help, but it is hard to say the $150-$200 price is a value. My current audio system works, but perhaps not elegantly. It isn't shitty, just inelegant. I'm not sure the Roku speakers are worthless. 
  • Reply 20 of 24
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,291member
    eightzero said:
    macxpress said:
    gatorguy said:
    Wonder if the you-know-who's will still claim these are useless features if/when they come to the HomePod. Personally I think these will be appreciated additions. 

    Well to some this a worthless product anyways and always will be. Siri will always suck no matter how much Apple improves it and adds features to HomePod. It's already stuck in their head this is a shitty product. 

    Apple is doing exactly what I said they were doing. They made sure the hardware was really good and worked really well and just released it with basic features to get it out the door. Apple can always fix software and add features after they ship, but it's nearly impossible to change shitty hardware once its been shipped. 

    Worthless and shitty really can't be interchanged. Yes, I'm being an ass here, but in its current state, the HomePod is a worthless product *to me* simply because I don't value it for the price for what it delivers. Maybe in the future that will change. It might become a better device (and cost less); it might be my needs and tastes change. Right now, others may value it.

    That's different than shitty. Shitty implies to me that it is incomprehensible how any can value the product. I've run across a lot of shitty products, and HomePod doesn't seem shitty. Samesung and Microsoft stuff seems shitty to me. But to people that value that shit, it might not be shitty. Siri seems shitty to me, but I did't really pay for Siri, so it is hard to say it is worthless. I would say Siri is worth what I paid for it. 

    On a related topic I am toying with buying the Roku speakers. I have a lot of legacy audio gear that could use some help, but it is hard to say the $150-$200 price is a value. My current audio system works, but perhaps not elegantly. It isn't shitty, just inelegant. I'm not sure the Roku speakers are worthless. 
    I'm going to give 'em a try, ordered last week at the early-bird price to use on the smaller bedroom TV. That one has particularly crappy sound (3 year old Roku TV) while my main 4K TCL already has a really good (IMO) soundbar. We'll see. Might end up on ebay come November....
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