New features in the beta version of the HomePod app tease Apple Music integration and custom alarm tones.
The Apple HomePod smart speaker can act as a replacement for traditional alarm clocks. However, you have only had the choice of waking up to a pre-set alarm tone. This now looks to be changing. Or at least it does if the rumors turn out to be true.
New Features Rumored for the Apple HomePod
MacRumors discovered the change while looking over new features in the beta version of the HomePod app.
The updated app shows options for playing media as an alarm tone and a prompt to link an Apple Music account to the alarm clock feature. Once linked, it appears users will be able to select media from Apple Music when setting the alarm.
Another new feature is the ability to specify a custom volume, rather than changing the alarm volume manually.
There is currently no confirmed release date for the new version of the HomePod app, but Apple announced the new HomePod mini during its recent new product event, so it seems likely it’ll be updated around the same time.
Is the HomePod Catching up to the Competition?
The ability to select your own alarm tone will be a welcome addition to HomePod users. It’s surprising that it wasn’t already an option, as Apple Music integration is central to the HomePod’s appeal.
It’s a feature that’s been available in the HomePod’s competitors for a long time. Google Assistant can wake you up with music, and has been able to since 2018. And Alexa-equipped devices give you the choice of music, podcasts, and news reports.
It’s even stranger that musical alarms aren’t available on HomePod, considering that choosing a song as an alarm tone has been possible on iPhones since iOS 11. One notable difference, however, is that iPhone alarms use music from the user’s local library, so it’s possible that integrating Apple Music into alarms was always a planned feature.
HomePod Smart Home Integration
Another place HomePod is lacking is with smart home integration. Google’s Gentle Sleep slowly ramps up the lights leading up to an alarm to make waking up a less sudden experience. Given the Apple HomePod’s compatibility with various smart plugs and lights, the ability to link them to alarms seems like an obvious feature to implement.
The upcoming release of the HomePod Mini seems to be the catalyst for addressing some of these missing features. It’ll be perfect timing, as the new design and $99 price tag of the HomePod Mini will likely attract many new users, and the smaller form factor makes it ideal for bedside tables and nightstands.
Nothing is set in stone yet, but it looks like HomePod users might end up with the same features Amazon Echo and Google Home users have been enjoying for years.
The new HomePod is packed with a lot of great features, but don’t worry about it breaking the bank.
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