Apple HomePod Will Support VoiceOver and Other Accessibility Features


Earlier this year, Apple officially announced its newest product: A smart speaker called HomePod. And while the company announced plenty of details, there are still some unanswered questions.

Developer Steve Troughton-Smith has unpacked the latest firmware release for the HomePod, and, as such, has discovered a few interesting tidbits. For instance, the HomePod is running the full iOS stack, without a display, and there is a shell app present that’s called SoundBoard. This is expected to be similar in function as the SpringBoard in iOS. The firmware code itself is labeled AudioAccessory1,1, if you’re curious.

One big question that, while probably expected, wasn’t specifically answered by Apple back in June was whether or not the HomePod, like so many of Apple’s other products, would include support for Accessibility features. That includes things like VoiceOver, which helps quite a few people. And, sure enough, Troughton-Smith was able to confirm that the smart speaker will indeed support the Accessibility features.

Other key details include Troughton-Smith expecting that the top of the HomePod that is illuminated will feature an LED matrix, rather than just a few large LEDs. He believes that this means the top part of the HomePod could go on to feature more support than just the plus and minus controls currently there for audio volume, as well as the Siri animation.

Finally, it does not appear that the HomePod will support third-party apps at this point, despite running the software necessary to do so. However, it’s possible that Apple will expand that functionality in the future, after the HomePod has launched and extended into the market.

[via 9to5Mac; @stroughtonsmith]

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