HomePod to enable Smart Home features


Even though Apple has focussed the marketing of the HomePod on its Music features, the HomePod will include Smart Home features, enabling customers to turn on and off such items as lights, blinds, appliances, adjust temperatures, and trigger scenes and events.

Home Kit

Although Apple has spent the last eight months publicly downplaying the HomePod's smart home integration, and focussing the marketing on sound quality, Apple Music compatibility, iTunes, and AirPlay Stereo features, the HomePod will have Siri, and will in part use Siri to talk to HomeKit-enabled devices.

HomeKit is Apple's framework which enables other manufacturers to develop products that talk to Apple's iPhone, iPad, and other Apple products, and pass instructions back and forth.

HomeKit enables you to set one or more than one event to trigger, potentially enabling you to push a button or ask Siri to run a sequence of events, like closing the blinds, turning the lights off, turning on the TV and and starting Netflix (or iTunes Movies, sorry, Tim Cook).

HomePod with HomeKit

HomePod will definitely include HomeKit compatibility, despite Apple downplaying the feature. Apple has a habit of keeping unfinished or imperfect features "semi-secret" or "in-beta" until everything works perfectly.

However, the HomePod was announced in June 2017, was meant to arrive in December 2017, and is now finally going on sale in February or March 2018.

Apple Music, iTunes, AirPlay, and anything music-related within the Apple ecosystem is expected to be working perfectly at launch. Later, we will see the release of AirPlay 2.0, enabling two HomePods to play in stereo, one as a left channel and one as a right channel.

AirPlay 2.0 is also expected to allow simultaneous music playback, playing the same song in different rooms, or playing one song in one room and a different song in another room at the same time. This suggests that AirPlay 2.0 may include multi-channelling, something that is not part of AirPlay 1.0.

Of course, this requires you to buy more than one HomePod, something Apple would love you to do.

Minor Disappointments

Apple has confidently stated that HomePod works with Apple Music and iTunes - but Apple hasn't said that it wont work with Spotify or Pandora, or other services. The assumption is that HomePod works best with Apple Music or Apple iTunes.

However, as HomePod includes Bluetooth 5, it is theoretically possible that if you have Spotify (or another music service) app on your iPhone, that you could connect your iPhone via Bluetooth to a HomePod, and stream Spotify to the HomePod.

Apple of course wants all of your dollars, Pounds, Euros, and Rubels inside Apple's wallet, so will of course make sure that Apple's own features work the best, and everything else is... well... harder to achieve.

Now we just need Apple to bring back the iPod touch as a remote for the Apple TV and HomePod.

Until next time,

Xavier Zymantas

XYZtech

XYZ Media Group

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