Apple HomePod generates tones for device pairing, setup

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited September 2017
When Apple's HomePod launches later this year, users will be able to take advantage of an automated pairing and setup process triggered by a special tone generated by the speaker and subsequently detected by a host iPhone.




A screenshot buried in Apple's latest iOS 11 beta release, discovered by developer Guilherme Rambo on Saturday, hints at the forthcoming HomePod feature.

As with other connected Apple accessories, like Apple Watch and AirPods, it appears HomePod will sport multiple methods of pairing.

Apple Watch, for example, uses an image-based pairing technique in which Watch displays a dynamic "particle cloud" visualization for detection via a host iPhone's camera. If the automated system fails, the device falls back to a manual configuration process.

Once paired, a connected iPhone handles iCloud account authentication, hardware setup and other functions that benefit from a full onscreen keyboard.

HomePod was expected to take advantage of a similar setup procedure. Earlier this month, code unearthed in a prior iOS 11 beta version suggested HomePod's Siri assistant will read out a four-digit authentication and pairing code, which users input into their iPhone. From there, the setup process, including sign-ins for Apple ID, Apple Music and more, is offloaded to iPhone.

In essence, the HomePod tone generation function hinted at in today's screenshot is an audio version of Apple Watch's particle cloud feature that could fit into the setup process by triggering the previously uncovered Siri-based authentication process. Alternatively, the Siri readout might be part of a manual setup procedure.

Apple announced HomePod at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June as the company's answer to in-home virtual assistant devices like Amazon's Echo and Google Home. The speaker is scheduled for release in December.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,043member
    I'm guess the tones are also part of the audio sensing that tunes the device to the room.

    lolliver
  • Reply 2 of 12
    mattinoz said:
    I'm guess the tones are also part of the audio sensing that tunes the device to the room.

    Could be, but then they only be tones sent on wifi...
  • Reply 3 of 12
    wigbywigby Posts: 688member
    mattinoz said:
    I'm guess the tones are also part of the audio sensing that tunes the device to the room.

    Not sure why you're connecting setup tones to HomePod's dynamic room sensing capabilities. Since HomePod has no Bluetooth pairing capabilties, it'll need some user friendly methods to connect users' iCloud accounts to the speaker. I suppose they could just use airplay but since HomePod works with airplay 2, they might need to include alternate pairing methods for iOS 10 and older users.

    HomePod is using an A10 processor so it dynamically adjusts all audio to the room's sonic "blueprint" in realtime. No need for audio chirps to setup playback EQ like on less advanced speakers and amplifiers.
  • Reply 4 of 12
    If one uses two HomePods in the same room, can they be set up as a stereo pair (i.e. left and right speakers)?
  • Reply 5 of 12
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,748member
    macseeker said:
    If one uses two HomePods in the same room, can they be set up as a stereo pair (i.e. left and right speakers)?
    I believe that was mentioned during the presentation.
  • Reply 6 of 12
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,748member

    mattinoz said:
    I'm guess the tones are also part of the audio sensing that tunes the device to the room.

    Could be, but then they only be tones sent on wifi…
    I'm not following. Why would tones be sent on WiFi?
    lolliverjony0
  • Reply 7 of 12
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,748member
    wigby said:
    mattinoz said:
    I'm guess the tones are also part of the audio sensing that tunes the device to the room.

    Not sure why you're connecting setup tones to HomePod's dynamic room sensing capabilities. Since HomePod has no Bluetooth pairing capabilties, it'll need some user friendly methods to connect users' iCloud accounts to the speaker. I suppose they could just use airplay but since HomePod works with airplay 2, they might need to include alternate pairing methods for iOS 10 and older users.

    HomePod is using an A10 processor so it dynamically adjusts all audio to the room's sonic "blueprint" in realtime. No need for audio chirps to setup playback EQ like on less advanced speakers and amplifiers.
    My guess is that when you first setup the HomePod it will look to create an ad-hoc WiFi connection with your iDevice—not unlike how Personal Hotspot seamlessly works with a Mac—which uses the microphones and speakers to create a unique tone for the handshake, at which point your local WiFi, iCloud, and other information is sent to the device. Then you'll have an app on your iDevice for additional setup, but I think that's mostly it. To me, that seems like the simplest solution.

    I am surprised by the lack of BT. Do wireless speakers typically all have WiFi these days for higher bandwidth? Does Sonos? I'm hoping that 1) it will connect to the Apple TV (seems a near certain), and 2) allows additional wireless speakers to be set up (much less certain of that).
  • Reply 8 of 12
    Soli said:
    macseeker said:
    If one uses two HomePods in the same room, can they be set up as a stereo pair (i.e. left and right speakers)?
    I believe that was mentioned during the presentation.
    What presentation?
  • Reply 9 of 12
    Soli said:
    macseeker said:
    If one uses two HomePods in the same room, can they be set up as a stereo pair (i.e. left and right speakers)?
    I believe that was mentioned during the presentation.
    Actually it was not answered definitively. This keeps coming up too. They need to decide and say definitively that these can be foundational surround sound capable speakers or just fancy Amazon knock offs with 4 billion tweeters or whatever they said. 

    Can they be configured for channeled stereo sound Or will there be other speakers someday to build off if like Sonos (if sonos releases an AI neutral assistant Apple won't win this) 

    im not sure about you folks but I've got one foot out the door on Siri already. I have easily understood speech, don't mumble and find she stumbles more than Alexa. All the normal shit I'd need done that wouldn't embarrass me to do in public - timers to dos, etc. Alexa is superior in reliability and context. I don't care why or how secret.., where the rubber meets the road - Siri is garbage. 

    Sonos has my money so far so it's not about cash it's about vision - why this fancy speaker ? Will there be more ? Will it have optical input? Will it support Atmos or a iOS equivalent? Can u buy music on it? Why do you need the same song playing in every room when you live in a retirement home (not applicable to all of u I'm sure) but actually why do we need this? 

    No more shitty reveals where some obese tool in a terrible Hawaiian shirt prances around telling me how glorious this new thing is without telling me anything about it all... 

    its ridiculous.

    I'll buy one or seven if it's meaningful. Tell me I don't need to do that anymore because they've "invented" some magical new version of surround and I'll pass. Tell me it's one more thing that won't talk too any other thing and I'm not the only person that will pass on it either. 

    More and more the walled gardens walls are becoming far too high to maintain and this has worked for them this way but off the iPhone and into homes where people want simple this just won't fly. Espeacially unarticulated.

    We we already have speakers that talk to iOS and Alexa and my Xbox has Cortana to fill in the spaces.

    Make the case why I want to be shouting at all the things that make sound because I got nothing...
  • Reply 10 of 12
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,748member
    Soli said:
    macseeker said:
    If one uses two HomePods in the same room, can they be set up as a stereo pair (i.e. left and right speakers)?
    I believe that was mentioned during the presentation.
    What presentation?
    The presentation of HomePod during the WWDC keynote. Go to 02h:09m:34s where they mention 2 working together. Now, they don't mention L&R, but that wasn't the focus, adjusting channels for a room with this tech is child's play, and the 5th gen Apple TV hasn't been introduced yet, which I assume will work with these to help sell them. I know I'll be getting two HomePods if they work with the Apple TV.


  • Reply 11 of 12
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,190member
    No, it's not mentioned in the WWDC presentation that the HomePod does actual L/R Stereo. In another AI article about the HomePod there's a mention that The Verge has confirmed that two HPs together will do real stereo.

    But I haven't seen anything from Apple yet that states this. That would be a deal breaker for me. If I can't get a conventional sound stage from two of them, they may as well put the music on one HP and the vocals in the other.

    So I'm not assuming anything one way or the other. But would it have killed Phil to say instead of 'incredible spacious sound that really has the power to rock your house' he said 'incredible spacious stereo sound that really has the power to rock your house'.

    Maybe since current audio is in some cases 7.1 and even 9.1, they didn't want do say 'stereo' because it might sound dated. I want stereo sound and iTunes-Sire compatibility. I'm not interested in Apple Music at this time. 

    Siri has been giving me trouble over the last several months. Why sentence structure is far less critical than when using Alexa and my Dot, Siri often doesn't hear me correctly and gives me odd answers. My Dot hears me very well and at distances my plugged-in iPhone can't match. But the Dot just failed to function sooo often. So while the both have something to offer, they both have some big flaws that need to be addressed.
    stevenoz
  • Reply 12 of 12
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,167member
    macgui said:
    No, it's not mentioned in the WWDC presentation that the HomePod does actual L/R Stereo. In another AI article about the HomePod there's a mention that The Verge has confirmed that two HPs together will do real stereo.

    But I haven't seen anything from Apple yet that states this. That would be a deal breaker for me. If I can't get a conventional sound stage from two of them, they may as well put the music on one HP and the vocals in the other.

    So I'm not assuming anything one way or the other. But would it have killed Phil to say instead of 'incredible spacious sound that really has the power to rock your house' he said 'incredible spacious stereo sound that really has the power to rock your house'.

    Maybe since current audio is in some cases 7.1 and even 9.1, they didn't want do say 'stereo' because it might sound dated. I want stereo sound and iTunes-Sire compatibility. I'm not interested in Apple Music at this time. 

    Siri has been giving me trouble over the last several months. Why sentence structure is far less critical than when using Alexa and my Dot, Siri often doesn't hear me correctly and gives me odd answers. My Dot hears me very well and at distances my plugged-in iPhone can't match. But the Dot just failed to function sooo often. So while the both have something to offer, they both have some big flaws that need to be addressed.
    It seems some here are assuming that one pod cannot produce stereo but it could, easily. 
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