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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker gets intercom and other new features

Apple brings intercom functionality as well as other features to its HomePod smart speaker.

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 21, 2020 10:58:49 am
Apple, Apple WWDC 2017, WWDC 2017, HomePod, Google Home, Amazon Echo Show, Sonos Play:5Now you can send messages between other HomePod smart speakers in the house, thanks to the newly announced "intercom" feature

Starting today, Apple HomePod users will be able to use the “Intercom” feature to send messages to multiple HomePods in the house. The feature has been released as part of iOS 14.1, which is now available for download. This update also includes bug fixed and improvements.

Perhaps the biggest highlight of HomePod software 14.1 is the arrival of intercom functionality on Apple’s flagship smart speaker. The update allows multiple HomePod smart speakers to work as an intercom system, meaning you tell your brother to come for “breakfast” without yelling.

Intercom isn’t a new feature on smart speakers. Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Nest speakers have allowed multiple speakers to work as a single intercom system for years. However, the advantage of HomePod over the Echo speaker or Nest Audio is the ecosystem. Later this year, Apple will add intercom support for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch,  AirPods and CarPlay.

Apple event: Here is everything that was announced from iPhone 12 to HomePod Mini

In addition to the support for intercom, the update also brings new Siri features to the HomePod. Now you can ask Siri on HomePod to search the web and then read the results on your iPhone, plus there’s multi-user support for podcasts. Not just that, the HomePod is also getting the ability to customise songs with personal songs or playlist on Apple Music.

Apple will bring more features to the HomePod later this year, including the ability to pair the smart speaker with Apple TV 4K to stream Dolby Atmos, as well as 5.1 and 7.1 audio. The HomePod retails for Rs 19,900 in India.

During its recently held iPhone 12 event, Apple introduced a new smart speaker called HomePod Mini, available for Rs 9,900. The mini HomePod uses Apple Watch chip to run Siri and audio processing. Apple said the smart speaker works with Apple Music and several other services, including Amazon Music. The HomePod Mini will go on sale in India next month.

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