Following the rumors that Apple was working on a smaller, cheaper version of the HomePod, it turns out that the rumors were right on the money because Apple has since officially taken the wraps off their latest smart speaker, the HomePod mini.
The U1 chip that debuted with the iPhone 11 last year seemed like an indication that Apple was readying its own Tile-like tracking accessory, but now according to a report from Jon Prosser, he claims that the U1 chip is actually the foundation for even bigger plans and loftier goals than just helping you find a missing object.
According to the rumors, Apple is apparently planning on creating a HomePod mini set of speakers. This device is said to be smaller and cheaper than the HomePod, and now according to a post by Kang on Weibo, it seems that the pricing of the upcoming speaker has been revealed, and we are pretty thrilled by that news.
With all the fuss surrounding smart speakers, it did not come as a surprise that Apple tossed their hat into the ring when they launched the HomePod. However, to say that the speaker received a lukewarm reception is overstating it as many were put off by the price and also the seemingly lack of features compared to other smart speakers.
Apple’s iPhones and Google’s Android devices come with their own digital assistants in the form of Siri and Google Assistant. One of the advantages of having a native digital assistant is that it is deeply integrated into the operating system, allowing them to do things that third-party digital assistants can’t.
iOS users might be familiar with how Siri operates on their iPhone. When they summon the digital assistant, it is launched in a full screen mode where any questions they ask will be displayed on the Siri screen itself. However, Apple will be changing how that works to make Siri less intrusive and disruptive to your experience.
When it comes to digital assistants, it’s obvious that Siri could stand to be improved upon. Now according to researchers from Apple and Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute, they have recently published a paper that suggests that one of the ways these improvements could be made is by mapping out the room.
Let’s face it, unlike the Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers, Apple hasn’t had that much luck with the HomePod. Designed to be a “premium” sounding device, the price of the speaker combined with Siri’s limitations has resulted in a device that isn’t exactly flying off the shelves, but Apple wants to change that.
Siri can do a lot of things for users, such as checking the weather, traffic, searching for things on the internet, control smart home devices, and so on. Now it looks like Apple has updated Siri where it can now ask users a series of questions to help them determine whether or not they have the coronavirus (COVID-19).
At the moment, Apple’s HomePod is designed in such a way that the controls are placed on the top of the speaker where users can control music playback. They can also control it using Siri. However, it seems that in the future, HomePods could sport touch-sensitive fabric that would allow users to control the speakers by touching anywhere around the speaker.
As far as smart speakers are concerned, Apple’s HomePod is definitely not one of the cheaper options out there. At an initial launch price of $349, it was definitely more expensive than many of the options out there, plus reviews of the speakers aren’t exactly glowing, meaning that it is an expensive pill to swallow for would-be customers.
When it comes to virtual assistants, depending on the phone and platform you use, you could be using any number of virtual assistants ranging from Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, and so on. But if there was a “world’s biggest” title when it comes to digital assistants, would Siri necessarily be a name that comes to mind?
So we have heard multiple stories about how the Apple Watch has been used to call for help in emergency situations. This is due to Siri being baked into the Apple Watch which allows it to be activated using voice commands. Now it looks like Siri has managed to potentially save another life.
Imagine giving a presentation, only to be halfway interrupted and potentially contradicted. How embarrassing would that be, right? Now imagine that happening live on TV where the interruption was not only unintentional, but also done in such a deadpan manner that you just can’t help but laugh.