Apple HomePod Features: Firmware Reveals New Details About Amazon Echo Rival

Apple’s HomePod is not scheduled for release until December, but the Cupertino giant may have wanted to out more details about its Amazon Echo competitor. Tim Cook’s company has released the device’s firmware, and some developers have managed to get their hands on it to get new information about Apple’s very own smart speaker.

On Friday, Apple reportedly pushed out the HomePod’s firmware, and this led developers like Steve Troughton-Smith to learn more about the new device. In his quest to unearth tidbits about Apple’s smart speaker, Troughton-Smith found out that the HomePod is going to run the full iOS stack. This is an interesting detail as it suggests that the HomePod would pretty much be like an iPhone sans the screen, MacRumors has learned.

The firmware, which bears the name “AudioAccessory1,1,” also reveals that the full iOS stack would be relying on an app called “SoundBoard” to work with the smart speaker’s hardware. In addition, Troughton-Smith shared that what the firmware has as of late are apps that are prefixed with “Air.” Moreover, the developer stated that he hasn’t discovered any provision for installing third-party apps or extensions.

ALSO READ: Amazon Echo 2 will reportedly copy design elements from Apple HomePod

Troughton-Smith also disclosed that he has found codes for the +/- controls nestled on the top part of the HomePod smart speaker. He even pointed out that the +/- controls wouldn’t be on a display, but they would instead be plain LED buttons. Some of the functions he spotted were for controlling and launching Siri, dismissing an alarm and the timer, as well as changing the volume of the sound during content playback.

Examining closely the other aspects of the firmware, Troughton-Smith learned that there’s an LED matrix for the center part of the HomePod. According to him, this could be suggesting that the device has a screen of some sort that can display shapes and symbols. One Apple enthusiast tweeted Troughton-Smith that this part of his discovery could be hinting at a simple screen that could show basic stuff like temperature and the weather icons.

Interestingly, the most shocking thing that Troughton-Smith stumbled upon while inspecting HomePod’s firmware has got to be the fact that the smart speaker is identified as an iPhone SE on the iTunes Store. This is quite strange considering that the two devices are very different, hardware-wise.

ALSO READ: Amazon Echo Vs. Apple HomePod: Which device do consumers want?

Speaking of the iPhone SE, many have been waiting for the successor to the first version that the Cupertino giant unveiled and released in March of last year. The 4-incher was received well by the market, but analyst Pan Jiutang said almost two weeks ago that the small screen iPhone could just be a one-off, as first reported by GSM Arena. Apple is believed to be moving forward with large-screen iPhones, so it’s very unlikely for the company to release a new iPhone SE this year.

Apple is rumored to be launching its new flagship, the iPhone 8, later this year. The handset is expected to come with a body that’s very similar in size to the 4.7-inch iPhones. However, it is speculated to feature a much larger screen with a different aspect ratio — something that LG and Samsung did with their latest flagship phones, the G6 and the Galaxy S8, respectively.

HomePod

HomePod’s firmware reveals new information about Apple’s upcoming Amazon Echo competitor.

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