At Apple’s WWDC 2024, the excitement was in the air with announcements like iOS 18, an iPad calculator app (finally), and a slew of upgrades for the AirPods. However, one product noticeably absent from the spotlight was the HomePod. While many HomePod users anticipated significant updates, particularly concerning Apple Intelligence and smart home integration, the event fell short of these expectations. Nonetheless, Apple has introduced some minor, yet meaningful upgrades for the HomePod 2 and HomePod mini.

Smaller, yet meaningful HomePod updates

Despite the lack of stage time at WWDC 2024, Apple did announce some new features for the HomePod lineup. HomePods now support a shared playlist queue across multiple iPhones using Apple’s SharePlay feature. During a party, for instance, if music is playing on a HomePod, others can join in by bringing their iPhone close to the original iPhone or scanning a QR code. This allows them to control playback and add songs to the playlist, even without an Apple Music subscription. While not revolutionary, this feature enhances the social aspect of music sharing among Apple users.

Another notable upgrade is the support for spatial audio, including Dolby Atmos, through AirPlay. This means if you’re watching a Dolby Atmos-enabled movie on your iPhone and stream the audio to a HomePod, you’ll enjoy the enhanced separation and immersive experience of Dolby Atmos. This feature extends to other AirPlay-compatible speakers, offering a richer audio experience.

HomePod users disappointed to miss out on Apple Intelligence

However, the primary point of contention among HomePod users is the absence of Apple Intelligence (AI) integration. Apple Intelligence promises to revolutionize the way we interact with our devices by leveraging advanced machine learning and on-device processing. The fact that this groundbreaking feature was not announced for HomePods has left some users feeling overlooked. The lack of Apple Intelligence support for HomePods is a major letdown, especially considering the powerful potential synergy between Apple Intelligence and Siri.

Users expressed their dismay over the lack of AI enhancements for Siri on HomePods. Many were expecting updates that would make Siri smarter and more responsive, particularly with compatibility improvements for HomeKit and other smart home integrations. Some users remain hopeful, pointing to Apple’s statement that additional platforms will gain Apple Intelligence features over the next year. This has sparked speculation that new HomePod models might be in the pipeline, potentially with superior hardware capable of supporting these advanced features.

Apple-Intelligence-coming-to-HomePod-next-year

Is Apple planning to release a new HomePod with AI support?

There’s a growing consensus that current HomePod models might not meet the hardware requirements needed for Apple Intelligence. Similar omissions are seen with devices like the Apple Watch as well as non-Pro iPhone 15 and older models, suggesting that the sophisticated processing required might be beyond the capabilities of existing HomePod hardware. In a footnote, Apple says that:

Apple Intelligence will be available in beta on iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, and iPad and Mac with M1 and later.

The integration of Apple Intelligence with HomePods could be transformative. Imagine a HomePod that not only plays music but also understands and anticipates your needs, manages your smart home more intuitively, and offers seamless interaction across all your Apple devices. Enhanced voice recognition with on-device processing could offer faster and more accurate responses, making Siri more reliable. Smarter home automation scenarios could become possible, where the HomePod learns your routines and preferences, adjusting the environment accordingly. By leveraging data from your apps and devices, Apple Intelligence could provide more personalized assistance, making daily tasks easier and more efficient.

HomePod users envision a future where their smart speakers can leverage Apple Intelligence to answer complex questions, perform personalized tasks, and provide a more intuitive and intelligent smart home experience, but it seems this dream might have to wait a little longer.

While WWDC 2024 left HomePod enthusiasts wanting more, the updates that were announced still offer valuable improvements. The ability to share music control with friends and enjoy spatial audio are welcome additions. However, the real game-changer lies in the potential future integration of Apple Intelligence. No one knows the exact reasons for the current exclusion, although it’s possible that Apple is still working on optimizing Apple Intelligence for the HomePod’s unique use cases and constraints. After all, integrating such a complex AI system into a smart speaker presents its own set of challenges.

In the meantime, HomePod users can still enjoy the existing features and enhancements. And who knows, maybe the next HomePod update will bring the much-anticipated Apple Intelligence integration, finally fulfilling the dream of a truly intelligent and intuitive smart home experience.

Himanshu Arora
234 Posts

I have been writing tech-focused articles since 2010. In my around 15 years of experience so far, I have written for many leading publications, including Computerworld, GSMArena, TechSpot, HowtoForge, LinuxJournal, and MakeTechEasier to name a few. I also co-founded PiunikaWeb, which went on to become a huge success within 5 years of its inception. Here at TechIssuesToday, I aim to offer you helpful information in a way that you won't find anywhere else easily.

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