You don’t need to wait for HomePod Mini to use Apple’s clever Intercom features
Alongside the iPhone 12, Apple used its lavishly produced October event to reveal the HomePod Mini – a smaller version of its excellent-sounding smart speaker.
Arguably the most eye-catching feature of the HomePod Mini is a new intercom trick that lets you talk and send voice messages between HomePods and other iOS devices. Thankfully, you don’t have to wait for the November release of the Mini to start using this.
With iOS 14.1, Apple has enabled intercom on the current HomePod. In the release notes for the update, Apple said you can ask a HomePod to make announcements to other HomePod speakers throughout your home or speak directly to another HomePod in a specific room or zone. You’ll also be able to send these messages to iOS devices if you’re using the Family Sharing feature.
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Of course, the main benefit of this intercom feature is that if you have multiple HomePods in various rooms then you can send messages to individual ones. While this is handy, we doubt it’ll come into its own until the HomePod Mini hits as that’s far cheaper at £99 and more likely to be picked up in higher quantities.
Other features of iOS 14.1 for the HomePod include support for that forthcoming Mini speaker and automatic setup. There’s also Maps suggestions for when you ask information about a certain location and the ability to send web search results from a HomePod to your iPhone.
Voice recognition now supports multiple users for Podcasts, you can add music to an alarm and Apple says it has fixed an issue when stereo pairs would sometimes play out of sync. Siri can also now stop alarms, timers and media across multiple speakers.
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iOS 14.1 is available now for the HomePod and HomePod Mini will follow early in November. iOS 14.1 is also available for the iPhone.