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July 29, 2017

HomePod Firmware Reveals Further Details on Apple’s Smart Speaker

by John_A

Yesterday, Apple pushed out firmware for its $349 HomePod smart speaker ahead of the device’s launch in December, and developer Steve Troughton-Smith has been sharing some interesting tidbits online that he managed to unearth in the code.

Bearing the name “AudioAccessory1,1”, the firmware reveals that the HomePod runs a full iOS stack – essentially like an iPhone without a screen – and relies on a shell app called “SoundBoard” to integrate with the device’s hardware.

Looks like the ‘shell’ app on HomePod is called SoundBoard. It runs a full iOS stack, unsurprisingly. Its apps are prefixed with ‘Air’

— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) July 28, 2017

Troughton-Smith said that HomePod apps are prefixed with “Air” in the firmware, but that there currently appears to be no provision for third-party apps or extensions in the OS shell.

In addition to revealing that the device will include Accessibility features like VoiceOver, Troughton-Smith also found references to an LED matrix, possibly relating to the area on the top of the speaker that with the right density could display shapes and/or symbols.

Plus and minus symbols and a Siri button are known to be on the top of the device, so the existence of an LED matrix could potentially present additional information to the user, such as icons or a graphic equalizer.

So the #HomePod probably has a screen like this. If it’s the right density could easily show basic things like temperature & weather icons

— Alan Miller (@rosewoodat5th) July 28, 2017

Oddly enough, the developer also found that the HomePod is identified as an iPhone SE in the iTunes Store.

Apple is sure to make further changes to the software that runs the audio speaker before it ships in December, so we’ll likely have to wait until then for the full lowdown on its functionality. In the meantime, you can learn more about the device by checking out the MacRumors HomePod roundup.

Related Roundup: HomePod
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