Apple’s Intercom Feature Works on iPhone, iPad, HomePod, Apple Watch, AirPods, and CarPlay

During the unveiling of HomePod mini at Tuesday’s Apple event, Apple introduced an upcoming new feature called Intercom that works across all Apple devices with the exception, it would seem, of Mac.


Intercom will enable family members to communicate with each other wherever they are in the home, with the ability to send and receive spoken messages via HomePod speakers. If a family member is in the garden or away from home, they can still use Intercom on their iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and even CarPlay. Apple explains:

A new Intercom feature offers a quick and easy way for family members to connect with each other at home. One person can send an Intercom message from one ‌HomePod‌ to another — whether in a different room, a specific zone, or multiple rooms throughout the home — and their voice will automatically play on the designated ‌HomePod‌ speaker. Intercom works with ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPad‌, Apple Watch, AirPods, and ‌CarPlay‌, so everyone in the household can get Intercom notifications and send Intercom messages from the backyard or on their way home.

In the latest ‌HomePod‌ beta software, the setup process explains that users can say “Hey Siri, Intercom,” followed by their message, and then choose which HomePods and/or personal devices the message should be sent to. Other options include “Hey ‌Siri‌, tell everyone,” and “Hey ‌Siri‌, reply…” to respond to a message.


On personal devices, Intercom messages appear as notifications with the option to listen to the audio message. Users can also choose when Intercom notifications are delivered to their ‌iPhone‌ (Never / When I’m Home / Anywhere), and can select who can use Intercom via the Home app if they have remote access. Apple is also including an accessibility option that transcribes spoken messages on personal devices.

The Intercom feature will arrive

HomePod Mini Supports Low-Power Thread Networking Technology

As disclosed on the specs page for Apple’s new HomePod mini, the diminutive speaker is Apple’s first to support Thread networking technology.


Thread is a low-power IP-based networking technology for connecting Internet of Things (IoT) devices, offering a secure, mesh-based system that makes it easy to build an ecosystem of devices.

While Thread is essentially agnostic to the application layers that run on top of it, it can support multiple layers and may play a role in Project Connected Home over IP, the alliance of Apple, Amazon, Google, and other companies that is seeking to make it simpler to build devices compatible with multiple ecosystems such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant.

For the time being, however, Apple says in a footnote that ‌HomePod‌ mini’s Thread support is limited to HomeKit devices, so the technology can’t yet be leveraged cross-platform and it remains to be seen how Apple will embrace Thread going forward.

Apple is a noted supporter of the Thread project, with longtime Apple engineer Stuart Cheshire, who developed the Rendezvous/Bonjour zero-configuration standard nearly 20 years ago, serves as a director of Thread Group.

Apple’s ‌HomePod‌ mini will be available for pre-order starting November 6, and it will officially launch on November 16.

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HomePod Mini, 6th-Gen Apple TV Could Track U1 Chip-Powered Devices, Leaker Says

KEY POINTS

  • Apple is working on a smaller version of the HomePod and a new Apple TV
  • Both devices will make use of Apple’s UWB technology, a report says
  • The tech allows both devices to act as base stations monitoring all U1 devices in a user’s home

Apple’s upcoming small home speaker, the HomePod Mini, and the sixth-generation Apple TV will feature advanced technologies that allow them to do certain things like keep track of other iDevices, a leaker claims.

Noted tipster Jon Prosser, creator of Frontpage Tech and leaker who claims to be the “world’s most controversial Apple reporter,” suggested that Apple is equipping its upcoming HomePod Mini and Apple TV with technologies allowing them to do “next level stuff.”

Per the leaker, who has a noteworthy 74.5% accuracy when it comes to Apple leaks and rumors according to AppleTrack, the new smart home speaker and TV device will “both act as UWB base stations.” UWB stands for “ultra wideband” and is used by the company’s U1 chip, allowing iDevices such as iPhones to be located in the event it gets misplaced or dropped.

The new technology found in the HomePod Mini and Apple TV will allow the devices to turn “regular hardware into HomeKit hardware,” Prosser said.

Here’s what the new devices can do using the new tech:

  • First, it will allow the devices to “precisely track” the user’s location inside the home as he or she carries a device with the U1 chip, such as the iPhone 11.
  • Second, it will allow the HomePod Mini and sixth-gen Apple TV to interact with other devices to control media playback, adjust brightness and volume levels and manage door locks.
  • Third, and more interestingly, it will allow the devices to work with the Find My

Leaker: HomePod ‘Mini’ Close to Launch, But No Second-Generation HomePod This Year

Apple is expected to unveil a smaller, lower-priced HomePod at its digital-only event next week, which has led to speculation about the possibility of a second-generation ‌HomePod‌ also arriving. This morning, however, serial Apple leaker l0vetodream poured cold water on that idea, claiming there will be no “HomePod2” launching beside the rumored “mini” model this year.


Earlier this year, Apple began allowing employees to purchase up to 10 HomePods at a 50 percent discount, up from the previous limit of two. Some observers had suggested that the larger purchase limit could be part of Apple’s efforts to clear out inventory of the current ‌HomePod‌ ahead of a new model.

Apple may continue to sell the current ‌HomePod‌ alongside the smaller, more affordable version, but it may cut future supply orders for the premium model, which reportedly hasn’t sold very well. Apple has never disclosed ‌HomePod‌ sales, instead grouping the speaker under its “Wearables, Home, and Accessories” category, but the price of the speaker is thought to have been its biggest obstacle.

Apple launched the ‌HomePod‌ in February 2018 with a $349 price tag, but then reduced its price to $299 in April 2019. The ‌HomePod‌ also has several low-priced competitors on the smart assistant front, including Amazon’s fourth-generation Echo ($90) and the recently announced Google Nest ($90).


Apple has been steadily making the ‌HomePod‌ more useful by adding features such as Handoff support, multi-user voice detection, ambient sounds, and multi-room audio. Apple is also expected to add third-party music support to the ‌HomePod‌ in a future software update. The latter feature will presumably allow Spotify and other music services to be set as the default music service, letting users ask Siri to stream

Alongside iPhone 12, Apple Event Will Reveal HomePod Mini, Report Claims

A new leak suggests that the next special Apple Event, set for next Tuesday, October 13, will certainly unveil the iPhone 12 in several sizes. But it also looks like other products will be revealed, including a new HomePod smart speaker.

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But it’s not the replacement for the current model, according to a new claim from leaker @L0vetodream who tweeted in the last few hours, saying “There is no HomePod2 this year, only have mini one”.

The HomePod, as you’ll know, is a smart speaker with exceptionally good audio quality, though in the time since its launch in February 2018, some analysts have reported that sales were disappointing.

Perhaps it’s down to the price tag – $349 at launch, and a bit cheaper at $299 now. That still leaves it noticeably pricier than many other smart speakers out there. Though if you ask me, the only one that comes close in terms of audio is the Amazon Echo Studio, which costs almost $100 less, it’s $199.99.

So, a HomePod mini might be expected to have a significantly lower price tag, thus opening up the market and making it more accessible to a wider audience.

MORE FROM FORBESThe 7 Coolest Things About Apple Watch SE And Series 6

The big question will be whether the HomePod mini, if that’s what Apple calls it, can match the sonic excellence of the bigger version. Well, given the emphasis that Apple put on audio in the first place, stressing repeatedly that they didn’t want to make a smart speaker unless it sounded amazing, my guess is that that