We haven’t heard much about the next generation of HomePod firmware, but a new report suggests that it could come packed with significant upgrades.
Unlike many of Apple’s other operating system updates, HomePod is currently being beta tested internally. That means only the beta software is only available to Apple staff. French blog iGeneration has reportedly got their hands on new information relating to that internal beta software.
According to their sources, the next version of HomePod OS will allow users to make and answer calls directly from HomePod. That’s significant for a couple of reasons.
Currently, iPhone users need to make or receive a call on their device and switch the audio output to a HomePod to use the smart speaker’s built-in speakerphone capability. That’s not altogether inconvenient, but it does represent an extra step.
If iGeneration’s information is accurate, it suggests that HomePod can make and receive calls itself. That may include access to a user’s contacts list, as well as the ability to dial numbers. The report also suggests users could listen to voicemail or search call history via voice commands.
Notably, this would make HomePod the only smart speaker capable of answering incoming phone calls. Even Amazon Echo devices can only make or receive Alexa-to-Alexa calls — and they can’t receive calls from a cell phone or landline.
iGeneration’s report mentions other significant features, too. That includes the ability to set multiple named timers, ask Siri to locate a misplaced iPhone with voice commands, and a “force fix Wi-Fi” feature that would automatically sync an iPhone and HomePod to the same network.
The French tech site reports that Siri will be receiving some incremental intelligence upgrades in the new HomePod OS, as well. Apple’s digital assistant will be receiving additional information and responses on food, nutrition and “great personalities.” The report also mentions the ability to search for songs by their lyrics.
Lastly, the sources indicate that there could be additional features and capabilities added in other languages. Updates to HomePod’s Spanish support could open the doors for the device to see a wider release in Latin America, the site points out.
The last update to the HomePod OS launched alongside iOS 11.4.1, but it was an incremental and under-the-hood release.
Of course, Apple has not publicly revealed any of these new features. At WWDC ’18, the company only announced that HomePod users will be able to participate in Group FaceTime calls with audio.
Because the features are in beta testing, it’s perfectly possible for Apple to tweak, delay or entirely remove some of them before an official rollout.
Either way, we’ll know the extent of the HomePod upgrades when Apple’s stable of OS releases launch in the fall.