Apple recently publicly released the software code of their new smart speaker, the HomePod, which is slated to hit the market in December 2017. This would enable anyone with some knowledge of programming the chance to look at the makeup of the device and see what the features are, even before it is actually released. A developer, Steve Troughton-Smith, took advantage of the opportunity, and reported some pretty surprising finds.
iOS operating system
Steve reported that the Apple HomePod runs on the full version of the iOS operating system. This means that it will contain all the features of the iPad and the iPhone. This is not a particularly enlightening discovery since the HomePod is being labeled as a smart speaker that will be powered by Siri, and that much Apple themselves admitted to. However, this certainly does put to rest all the speculation regarding the HomePod’s smartness and efficiency.
Third party software unsupported
Steve also found that third party software are currently not being supported by the HomePod. For now, Apple is making the device compatible with only those software that the company has developed. So, you would be able to install new software, but only as far as you are buying them from the Apple Store. While this might make some potential users uncomfortable, the good news is that you might be able to customize the settings by tweaking the software, provided you know something about programming. That might actually be possible now that Apple has publicly released the software code.
Steve Troughton-Smith’s snooping around the software has also shed light on some pretty valuable information about the HomePod. When the HomePod was unveiled in the Worldwide Developers’ Conference, Apple was pretty straightforward about the controls, but they remained equally cryptic about the LED light on the top of the speakers. This gave rise to a lot of curiosity and speculation, and all we got to know from Apple was that the light indicates Siri’s activation and that they are used to control volume. Steve found out that there is not one, but several LED lights at the top, which suggests that they might act as a kind of screen that will give users more information than Siri’s activation status. It is possible that shapes and symbols could be displayed on the ‘screen’.
And that is not all. Steve also found that the shell app of the smart speaker has been named Soundboard, probably as a nod to SpringBoard. The apps are named with the usual prefixes of the iOS Android system, such as AirPodcast and AirMusic. Overall, the HomePod appears to be exactly like an iPad, minus the screen, which has probably found a replacement in the quasi screen at the top.
While the firmware details have been leaked, Apple is yet to comment on them, so we cannot say for certain that Steve’s deductions are completely correct. Steve himself is slightly elusive on the subject; he has been heard to comment that there is nothing more to be understood about the HomePod from its software codes than what he has unveiled, and whether the claims hold up will only be verified in December when the speaker hits the shelves.