first_imgÓscar Gutiérrez/CNET Apple’s WWDC 2019 presentation kicks off a weeklong conference Monday at 10 a.m. PT in San Jose, California. We’ll likely see the debut of iOS 13, the new MacOS and even new hardware. In the background of all that anticipation is a lurking question about HomePod, HomeKit and the Siri-powered smart home. Does Apple still care about competing in that corner of the market? Apple’s HomeKit platform and HomePod smart speaker are admittedly behind when it comes to intuitive smarts and useful features. Common complaints include the lack of support for third-party music services and far fewer smart home integrations. HomeKit is also siloed. you can’t use Siri or HomePod to control Google Nest products or Ring devices, both of which are popular with consumers.Siri on HomePod isn’t at the top of the voice assistant podium, either, as she had trouble competing with Google Assistant and Alexa in our testing and can’t differentiate between multiple users’ voices. It’s doubtful we’ll see a bounty of updates to either, since this conference is typically MacOS and iOS-focused.   WWDC 2019 Adorama However, there are a few things Apple could do to breathe new life into its lackluster speaker, and they could be announced next week. Here’s a quick rundown of the rumors out there giving HomePod fans hope.Multiuser voice recognitionThis is something both Google and Amazon already include in their smart speakers, and something Apple would be wise to quickly adopt. Right now, there isn’t a voice training option for HomePod users. That means anyone can say “Hey, Siri” and control your HomePod. Earlier this month, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman published an article with an extensive list of updates Apple planned to reveal, according to “people familiar with the plans,” and on that list was multiuser HomePod support. Adding voice training creates a multiuser environment, where Siri can respond to purchase requests, calendar queries and anything else with personalized results to each member of the household. This feels like an easy update, given that Siri has been able to identify its owner’s voice since iOS 9, locking out other voices that don’t match. It doesn’t seem a stretch to add support for recognizing more than one person. That would add functionality and value to Apple’s HomePod experience, not to mention a layer of security for purchases via voice.Ring integrationRing integration for HomeKit is another piece missing from Apple’s smart home puzzle and something Ring and HomeKit users have been asking for year after year. Ring is one of the most popular smart home brands out there, and when Amazon acquired it last year, we feared Ring products might never make it to HomeKit. ring-spotlight-cam-4 Chris Monroe/CNET Apple has since ditched the requirement for companies to include a physical MFi security chip and instead adopted software-based authentication. That means more products are able to offer HomeKit compatibility without changing their hardware or raising retail prices, and it’s rumored the Ring Video Doorbell Pro and Spotlight Cam could be ready for HomeKit rollout. A Twitter user posted a screenshot of Apple’s MFi Licensed Accessories webpage with the two Ring products categorized as HomeKit-certified.   Adding HomeKit compatibility to Ring products would make a lot of Ring and Apple fans happy. It could also mean more intuitive ways of answering your Ring doorbell and viewing camera feeds from the Home app, which brings us to our next wishlist item. Updated Home appAlso on Bloomberg’s list of expected announcements is an updated Home app to accompany iOS 13. If Ring comes to HomeKit (as it seems likely to do given that it appears to have passed certification) it makes sense to update the way the Home app works with security cameras and give Ring users the option to view camera recordings from the Home app. img-0321You can see the Dining Room HomePod in the HomeKit accessory list in the Home app. Screenshot by Megan Wollerton/CNET If that happens, what does it mean for the pay-to-view systems Nest, Ring and many others rely on when it comes to automatically recorded clips and cloud storage? With its HomeKit platform slowly but surely opening up to more manufacturers, Apple could become a big enough player to push companies to expand their free video clip storage, though Google and Amazon haven’t had much luck in that regard yet.  Regardless of what happens with video, an updated Home app seems like the least Apple could do to maintain the HomeKit platform. Apple’s Home app is fine, but Google’s Home app is more intuitive and better-looking. As complicated as the smart home can sometimes feel, Google offers a clean app that doesn’t feel cluttered. Apple needs to follow suit.Apple for Android?This one isn’t a rumor, but it’s an interesting possibility to consider. Could an updated Home app bring us a version for Android phones, too? Chances are slim, but opening up the platform even further would be a welcome change of pace. There are plenty of people out there (myself included) who live life with one foot in each camp, owning hardware from both ends of the operating system universe. HomePod MiniThis one is not so much a rumor, but an item from my own personal Apple wishlist. There’s no concrete evidence that a HomePod in any smaller or more affordable form is on the horizon, and WWDC isn’t primarily a hardware-focused event. Still, I think Apple would be wise to see the value in a HomePod model that puts HomeKit and Siri in the homes of Apple users who don’t want to spend $300 on a smart speaker.Google and Alexa’s smaller speakers prove that they can handle calling, music with good sound quality, voice commands and many other tasks as well as their larger counterparts per dollar. Apple shouldn’t fear the small smart speaker, but I wouldn’t hold your breath for a pint-size HomePod. Of course, there’s always the chance of a surprise announcement be it hardware, software or streaming services. We’ll keep track of everything happening at WWDC and round it all up for you as the conference progresses. reading • Will HomeKit and HomePod get any attention at WWDC? Tags See It $299 7:52 Now playing: Watch this: $299 18 Apple products that changed the world See It Jun 30 • iOS 13 and iPadOS public betas: How to download and install them now Share your voice Review • Apple HomePod review: Great sound, but it’s trapped in Apple’s world Mentioned Above Apple HomePod (White) Jul 5 • RIP, iTunes. This is what happens to your Apple music now So it looks like @ring is now #HomeKit certified… pic.twitter.com/dcB4LNOR6H— Daniel Feodorov (@mrdanielfeo) May 12, 2019 CNET may get a commission from retail offers. 19 Photoscenter_img 5 News • Get a refurbished Apple HomePod for $194 iOS 13 leaks hint at future products and the latest iPhone… Apple iOS 13: New Siri voice, camera tools, Dark Mode for iPhone New Mac Pro makes its debut, starts at $5,999 Apple gives the iPad its own OS Returning to Apple’s WWDC after 20 years, now with 5 OSes instead of 1 Get all the latest from WWDC See it Apple HomePod Apple See also Best Buy $299 See It Jun 14 • Apple Music vs. Apple Podcast vs. Apple TV: What’s the difference? • See All Nest Amazon Google Siri Apple Apple HomeKit Comments Aug 19 • iOS 13 and iPadOS: How to join the beta, use the best new features on your iPhone and iPad $299 WWDC 2019 CNET Smart Home Apple Event Smart Home Security Cameras Smart Speakers & Displays Preview • Hey Siri, beat Amazon, Google and Sonos: Apple HomePod hits Feb. 9last_img

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