The latest news about Apple’s expected HomePod is that the firm began putting out firmware for the $349 unit a few days ago, well ahead of the device’s expected launch in December 2017. After delving into the code, developer Steve Troughton-Smith has shared some rather interesting bits of information about this development.
Carrying the name ‘AudioAccessory 1.1’ the firmware indicates the HomePod comes with a complete iOS bundle, very similar to an iPhone, except for the fact that it does not have a screen. It also depends on a shell app known as ‘SoundBoard’ to integrate with the HomePod’s hardware.
Troughton-Smith added that in the firmware HomePod apps came with an ‘Air’ prefix, but that it appeared that, for the moment at least, the company did not make provision for third-party extensions or applications in the OS shell.
Apart from being able to reveal that the HomePod device will come with Accessibility features such as VoiceOver, Troughton-Smith also discovered references in the code to an LED matrix. That could possibly refer to the region on top of the Homepod which, with the right kind of density, should be able to display symbols and/or shapes.
A Siri button, as well as plus and minus symbols, are already known to be accommodated at the top of the HomePod device, so the presence of an LED matrix might provide additional data to the user, such as a graphic equalizer or perhaps even icons of some other nature.
Strangely enough, the developer also discovered that in the iTunes Store the HomePod is referred to as an iPhone SE.
Apple will no doubt make more changes to the software that runs the HomePod before its release in December, so we will probably just have to wait until then for the full story about its functionality.
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