The Apple HomePod is finally getting some much-desired features including the ability to play ambient sounds and support for radio stations.
The radio streaming feature is set to launch on the 30th of September. The Ambient Sounds and some other new feature are currently listed as being available later in Autumn.
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According to 9to5Mac, other new features include multi-user support and music handoff. Multi-user mode will let the HomePod recognise up to six different voices and personalise their experience.
Music handoff recognises if your mobile device is near the HomePod and – when you are playing audio – and sends you a notification to see if you want to quickly switch to the home speaker.
For Ambient Sounds, you can currently play them via AirPlay using another Apple device. However, this addition will let you play bird song, ocean waves and rainstorms directly from the HomePod and use them with Siri-integration.
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Radio streaming on the HomePod will give you access to 100,000 stations on the device and will be fully-integrated with Siri to allow for hands-free commands.
Apple isn’t usually a company for a stunted release of features and simply saying “later this fall” for some of these new additions is far from a definitive answer. The date doesn’t seem to coincide with other relevant Apple software releases.
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iOS 13 will come to the iPhone on the 19th of September with watchOS 6 launching on that day too. The new iPadOS and iOS 13.1 do come on the same day as the radio streaming support but no other releases indicate exactly when “later this fall” could be.
We would usually have expected these features to be included in a release like iOS 13.1. For some reason, these iOS-relevant features have been pushed back this time around.