HomePod gains multi-user support, ambient noise generator, live radio this fall

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited September 11
The HomePod is gaining a number of new features later this year via software updates, including support for recognizing up to six different voices and personalizing the experience, radio stations, and a collection of ambient sounds.




Updated following Tuesday's iPhone 11 event, Apple's webpage for the HomePod has a few additions about the smart speaker's features. Each are preceded by a small notification advising when they will be available to use, with all of the changes set to arrive before the end of 2019.

The earliest change is the addition of 100,000 radio stations, which can be listened to by asking Siri. Icons for iHeartRadio, Radio.com, and TuneIn indicate the three services will be used to power the feature, which will arrive on September 30.




Small print for the page advises the live radio feature requires at least one user to be signed in with an Apple ID used for iTunes or Apple Music for it to function.

Live radio support is coming as part of iOS 13, but since the WWDC announcement, there has been a brief period when some HomePod users in Germany were able to listen to a small number of local stations in July.

Further down the page, the site advertises the ability to "relax with Ambient Sounds" in an update "coming later this fall." The text suggests users will be able to request audio of "ocean waves, forest birds, rainstorms, and more," which could provide both relaxation and create a background noise.




Towards the bottom, another update scheduled for this fall is "A personalized experience for each person in the family," with Siri on HomePod able to learn and recognize up to six different voices. By recognizing individuals, the HomePod can provide personalized mixes based on their listening history and personal preferences when asked to "play some music" without specifying genres, artists, or playlists.

The multi-user features extend into other areas, with Personal Requests giving each user access to their own messages, reminders, lists and calendars. It is also possible for each user to make and receive phone calls, though details on how that would function compared to the current system are not provided.

Multi-user support has been rumored about for a while, and has surfaced in some patent applications.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    The ambient sounds feature is a nice addition since these are likely to be created specifically by Apple to take advantage of the unique HomePod speaker arrangement for more immersive sound vs. some of the nature sound albums available on Apple Music.
    StrangeDaysirelandequality72521lolliver
  • Reply 2 of 16
    JanNLJanNL Posts: 283member
    "Live radio support is coming as part of iOS 13, but since the WWDC announcement, there has been a brief period when some HomePod users in Germany were able to listen to a small number of local stations in July."

    And now... more radiostations are dripping in! Can only test it in the public beta of iOS 13 on my iPad, but when searching in the Music app there are a lot of (local) radiostations.

    For now all the radio stations I found were from TuneIn, works also on iMac with public beta.

    Nice  :)
    edited September 11 equality72521AppleExposed
  • Reply 3 of 16
    HomePods would be far more useful -- and sell a lot more -- if they could be just hooked up to any TV, even legacy ones, using standard connectors. I would buy at least three pairs.
    :-/


    elijahg
  • Reply 4 of 16
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,484member
    HomePods would be far more useful -- and sell a lot more -- if they could be just hooked up to any TV, even legacy ones, using standard connectors. I would buy at least three pairs.
    :-/


    And some are still angry that the TV no longer has an optical out port and claim Apple would sell a lot more if it did. No, they would not sell a lot more HomePods because the few users out there with “legacy” equipment are typically tech adverse in the first place and spending adverse second. By now almost all AVRs and many TVs have Bluetooth. And there are inexpensive Bluetooth->Aux Input/Output adapters all over the place on Amazon.
    edited September 11 jbdragonlolliver
  • Reply 5 of 16
    irelandireland Posts: 17,686member
    The ambient sound feature sounds amazing. I’m sure they’ll licence high quality stuff for the feature. I’m sure there will be folks out there who just love this feature.
    equality72521jbdragonboltsfan17
  • Reply 6 of 16
    Finally, they're making the HomePod useful!

    I currently use a rain noise maker app when I'm sleeping on days and the girlfriend is not at work (she doesn't even try to be quiet). so I'm glad to hear it'll be an option on the HomePod.
  • Reply 7 of 16
    The Homepod is a buggy piece of garbage. Who cares about radio stations? I would be happy if they actually worked reliably in stereo and worked with more than one single app — iTunes. My Homepods are the only Apple device I truly regret buying. 
    anantksundaram
  • Reply 8 of 16
    I care about radio stations!  The Homepod is the best speaker I've had in decades ... I would buy a larger one with super duper bass response!  My Apple TV was nice while it lasted but then when it went kaput I didn't replace it. Just stopped watching!  TV+ I would go for, especially if free.  Sometimes you want to watch something more than a movie trailer.
    lolliverAppleExposed
  • Reply 9 of 16
    Ambient Noise Generator - great, now all that is missing is a Beats1 Mystic Moods radio station... :#

    Some of the suggested "noise"
    Dogs barking
    Neighbors air conditioning
    Police sirens
    Domestic argument
    Home shopping network on blast
    Taylor Swift
    Railroad trains
    Beats1 
    Traffic (horns, screeching tires, engines revving, thumping coming from cheap audio system, collisions)

    What a mind numbing "feature".
    edited September 11 franklinjackcon
  • Reply 10 of 16
    ireland said:
    The ambient sound feature sounds amazing. I’m sure they’ll licence high quality stuff for the feature. I’m sure there will be folks out there who just love this feature.
    I’m one of them! How cool would it be if they could sync the ambient sound to a corresponding screen saver on the Apple TV?
    lolliverAppleExposed
  • Reply 11 of 16
    jonro said:
    The Homepod is a buggy piece of garbage. Who cares about radio stations? I would be happy if they actually worked reliably in stereo and worked with more than one single app — iTunes. My Homepods are the only Apple device I truly regret buying. 
    One app? You can Airplay from any app you want. If you mean baked in to use Siri voice control that isn't quite the same as only being able to use one app. Apple was open from release that AppleMusic was the only app that was Siri enabled. At least I thought they were?

    If I may ask if your home pods Weren't/aren't working in stereo mode correctly why would you not return them for replacements?

    I currently only use one in my home and I don't feel it to be buggy...Other folks here use them daily and I haven't read buggy as a complaint?  I will say that airplay is a bit finicky sometimes but closing whatever app is acting up usually takes care of the issue.
    lolliver
  • Reply 12 of 16
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 1,016member
    lkrupp said:
    HomePods would be far more useful -- and sell a lot more -- if they could be just hooked up to any TV, even legacy ones, using standard connectors. I would buy at least three pairs.
    :-/


    And some are still angry that the TV no longer has an optical out port and claim Apple would sell a lot more if it did. No, they would not sell a lot more HomePods because the few users out there with “legacy” equipment are typically tech adverse in the first place and spending adverse second. By now almost all AVRs and many TVs have Bluetooth. And there are inexpensive Bluetooth->Aux Input/Output adapters all over the place on Amazon.
    I had to buy a HDMI to optical splitter to accommodate the AppleTV's lack of optical out. A lot less elegant than before. Oh yeah everyone with older, perfectly functional $1000+ sound systems should replace the whole lot just because Apple leaves out optical. Good one. And Bluetooth? What's that got to do with using a Homepod with anything? It's got Bluetooth, but Apple's got it locked down so you can't make use of it.  Or are you again trying to blindly defend Apple's decisions without understanding whatsoever the issue the OP described? Oh yeah, it's that.
    mobirdtokyojimuanantksundaram
  • Reply 13 of 16
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,529member
    These are a pretty ho-hum updates for me.

    Ambient sounds? That makes my HP a pretty expensive 'sound generator', something easily had from Sharper Image or similar. Apple-made sound files could be quite good, but I'll believe that when I hear it. And seriously, a 'sleep machine'?

    There's only me as my girlfriend dissed the HP and is now verboten to use it, so multi-user is of no value.


    The radio apps support is actually would be useable for me. I frequently have Alexa play my new/traffic radio station as Siri can't do it. She did play excerpts (WTF- excerpts?) from 60 Minutes. Not at all what I asked for, but that did show me that spoken voice can sound very good in the HP. So now I AirDrop my audbible.com books onto the HP. Very enjoyable.

    But Siri needs some big help here. I frequently use iPhone/iPod/Watch Siri with a button push because HP Siri is so inept. She frequently fails to carry out basic commands and can't answer so many questions, compared to Alexa.

    So I appreciate the HP getting a little love, but it almost seems begrudgingly, as though it's the red-headied step-child. Maybe Siri on the HP should be renamed Lisa.

    elijahganantksundaram
  • Reply 14 of 16
    lkrupp said:

    And there are inexpensive Bluetooth->Aux Input/Output adapters all over the place on Amazon.
    That is for people who either neither understand nor give a sh** about either sound quality or lag.

    Hey, each to his own, man. You stick with your silly stuff, I am happy with mine!
    edited September 12 elijahg
  • Reply 15 of 16
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,705unconfirmed, member
    Really looking forward to a Nove,ber event with new HomePods and Apple TVs.

    HomePods would be far more useful -- and sell a lot more -- if they could be just hooked up to any TV, even legacy ones, using standard connectors. I would buy at least three pairs.
    :-/



    I want a headphone jack and SD Card reader with mine. Apple hates us. Apple only cares about their greedy agenda of moving technology forward.

    Why doesn't my Homey come with a floppy disk drive?!!? I have dozens of Goosebumps audio books I bought at a garage sale!!

    WTF APPLE!!!!!

    macgui said:
    These are a pretty ho-hum updates for me.

    Ambient sounds? That makes my HP a pretty expensive 'sound generator', something easily had from Sharper Image or similar. Apple-made sound files could be quite good, but I'll believe that when I hear it. And seriously, a 'sleep machine'?

    There's only me as my girlfriend dissed the HP and is now verboten to use it, so multi-user is of no value.


    The radio apps support is actually would be useable for me. I frequently have Alexa play my new/traffic radio station as Siri can't do it. She did play excerpts (WTF- excerpts?) from 60 Minutes. Not at all what I asked for, but that did show me that spoken voice can sound very good in the HP. So now I AirDrop my audbible.com books onto the HP. Very enjoyable.

    But Siri needs some big help here. I frequently use iPhone/iPod/Watch Siri with a button push because HP Siri is so inept. She frequently fails to carry out basic commands and can't answer so many questions, compared to Alexa.

    So I appreciate the HP getting a little love, but it almost seems begrudgingly, as though it's the red-headied step-child. Maybe Siri on the HP should be renamed Lisa.


    "Ambient sounds? That makes my HP a pretty expensive 'sound generator', something easily had from Sharper Image or similar. Apple-made sound files could be quite good, but I'll believe that when I hear it. And seriously, a 'sleep machine'?"

    Sounds innovative. Not sure why Apple gets sh** on for features we haven't used yet.

    "There's only me as my girlfriend dissed the HP and is now verboten to use it, so multi-user is of no value."

    Can you think outside your bubble? This is a good feature for everyone who needs it like families and roommates.
    If my GF dissed my HomePod I would dump here quick. No one disses my Homie.

    "She frequently fails to carry out basic commands and can't answer so many questions, compared to Alexa."

    And tests prove time and time again that all Siris(Siri/Siri Knockoffs) suck. Difference is people get more emotional with Apple which spawns the hyperbolic "better than Siri" comments.
  • Reply 16 of 16
    It would really help if the audio link were easier  to turn on from Apple TV to HomePod.  Our most common use of that functionality is when cooking dinner.

     We may have the news or a show on, and sending the output from family room Apple TV to the kitchen HomePod makes that a better more fluid social time.  No more feeling left out. No more “what did they say?” as we walk back and forth and discuss/chat.

    The problem:  
    1.  a long press on the play button of Apple TV remote brings up the list of audio out devices.  Putting a check on the HomePod FAILS to send the TV audio from Hulu or whatever.   INSTEAD it tries to put Apple Music on the TV first.   WTF?  I have stop that, then restart the TV audio 

    Why can’t I just do a long press on the ATV remote inside ANY APP on the ATV to send TV audio ???  This UI needs improvement 


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