Apple will enable its ‘always-on’ microphone in its upcoming HomePod smart speaker to be turned off, likely to ease worries over privacy.
In the iOS 11.2.5 developer build, Apple specialist and follower Filipe Espositio spotted assets for the Apple Home app that would suggest the HomePod microphone could be disabled and Siri could be shut-off temporarily.
Espositio noted such functionality could be very useful for parties, in which case the HomePod would work as a decent music streaming speaker rather than get interrupted by visiting revellers barking ‘Hey Siri’ at it.
According to the Home app assets, users with HomePod will be able to create “scenes” that disable Siri temporarily. It will probably be very useful for parties. pic.twitter.com/k2gPc50Kmr
— Filipe Espósito (@filipekids) January 21, 2018
Being able to shut-off the microphone would also be handy if you want to simply use the HomePod in its speaker mode without worrying about accidentally activating Siri or to shake that feeling that you’re being constantly listened into.
Google’s Home Mini smart speaker ran into trouble with it’s microphone recording every bit of audio it picked up rather than listening for activation phrases. So it would seem that Apple is ensuring it’ll be ahead of the game in tacking any similar privacy and data issues that crop up when the HomePod is eventually released.
Speaking of release dates, Cupertino has still yet to announce when the HomePod will become available to the US and wider markets, though it was slated to hit markets “early 2018”.
And with such functionality being added into the iOS 11 Home app, it would seem that the HomePod isn’t far off from being released.
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