The HomePod is a fantastic speaker, but it’s also limited in terms of scope when it comes to the smarts and compared to the major competition.
But that doesn’t mean Apple hasn’t played with some pretty awesome futuristic ideas. A patent application that was recently made public from Apple, after the company submitted it back in 2017, details a variety of new features that could really spice up a future version of the HomePod. To be clear, the patent doesn’t actually call out the company’s first smart speaker by name, but it does describe a device that’s covered in fabric and features a microphone and speakers, so it’s a safe bet that’s what we’re talking about here.
The biggest change? Apple has an idea for actually weaving an array of LED lights throughout that fabric. Those lights would be able to display a wide range of information, from the weather to a big emoji representation of Siri. The LEDs could even show a subject from a recently received email, or tell you sports scores.
Waving a hand in front of the HomePod could change the LEDs, and an LED Siri would be able to change its mood based not only on your own tone of voice, but even by the general tone present in an email you received. So if Siri thinks you’re sad, the LEDs could show a sad emoji for the digital personal assistant, or even a happy one to try and turn things around emotionally for you.
Unsurprisingly, Apple has at least toyed with the idea of including Face ID support in the HomePod. This would allow the smart speaker to determine who is standing near it, and customize profiles and music suggestion based on that. It would be able to change personal requests based on seeing faces, too. Or, on the other hand, if Face ID in the HomePod didn’t recognize the face it could disable access to that content.
All of this sounds pretty great! The inclusion of the LEDs that change color, and can display information, would certainly make the HomePod stand out in some future version. Plus, an emoji Siri would be pretty awesome. That is, only if you can actually interact with the digital personal assistant in more ways. Playing games with an LED Siri, which can show reactions to winning or losing, would be a solid addition.
Could a change like this, either just one or all of them, help the HomePod gain ground on the smart speaker competition? Or should Apple focus on launching a cheaper option instead?