Today, we received a bit more information about Apple’s upcoming HomePod smart speaker. Interestingly enough, however, today’s leak doesn’t come from the HomePod firmware — instead, it was found buried within iOS 11.
Specifically, Brazilian site iHelpBR uncovered data within the latest developer beta of iOS 11 — seeded yesterday — that detail portions of the HomePod setup process. One image that the site dug out appears to be a UI panel that’s extremely similar to the pairing screen for Apple’s Bluetooth earphones.
Apparently, when users first power up a HomePod, they’ll be greeted with a pairing process similar to AirPods. iOS will then ask the user if they wish to pair HomePod to that specific iOS device — though the publication noted that there doesn’t currently seem to be a similar pairing process for macOS or tvOS. Unlike the setup process of other Apple devices, “Siri must be present in almost in the entire process.” At one point during setup, a string of code suggests that Siri will read a pairing authentication code that the user will then enter into their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
Other strings of code hidden within the latest developer beta of iOS 11 seem to suggest that HomePod must be connected to a WPA/WPA 2 Wi-Fi network to be set up. Additionally, an Apple ID with two-factor authentication is apparently needed to pair HomePod to content stored on iCloud or Apple Music. Another string of code mentions entering the last four digits of a HomePod’s serial number, though it’s not clear if this is a normal part of the pairing process or a fallback authentication method.
As expected, users will be able to choose the language, accent and gender of Siri. Also during the setup process, users will need to indicate which “Home” the smart speaker is set up in and what specific room — with garage, bedroom or living room as some of the options. There is also an option to share settings set during the pairing process across multiple HomePod devices. You can view a view of that process below, courtesy of Apple developer Guilherme Rambo.
This is how the HomePod setup will look like on an iPhone. pic.twitter.com/SARqsYslL6
— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) August 22, 2017
Other expected findings that iHelpBR dug up suggest that music played on HomePod will be visible to a user’s followers on Apple Music. Also, the HomePod’s touch-sensitive area will allow for various controls, including volume, playback and certain VoiceOver functions, like “Touch to Speak” and “Lift to Activate.” Presumably, some of the “setup” sounds found within the HomePod firmware will also be a part of the initial process.
Apple’s HomePod speaker was first unveiled in June. It’s expected to see a rather limited launch in December, with around 500,000 units shipped, according to comments made by HomePod supplier Inventec Appliances. Some of the initial supply issues could be alleviated by the addition of Foxconn to the smart speaker’s supply chain next year.