Apple recently announced the launch of its newest smart speaker, the Touchscreen HomePod. This new device builds upon the capabilities of the original HomePod and HomePod mini by adding a touchscreen interface to enable new ways for users to control and interact with the speaker. In this article, we will take a closer look at the key features, support, and connectivity options that set the Touchscreen HomePod apart.
The Touchscreen HomePod represents Apple’s continued commitment to delivering a premium smart speaker experience. Like its predecessors, the new HomePod emphasizes exceptional sound quality powered by Apple’s computational audio technology. However, the addition of a touchscreen unlocks new possibilities for visual interfaces, smart home control, and media viewing.
Apple designed the Touchscreen HomePod to be the ultimate smart home hub. With support for Matter accessories and tight integration with HomeKit, the speaker aims to simplify controlling one’s smart home. The touchscreen provides an intuitive way to view camera feeds, lock doors, adjust lighting, and more.
Beyond smart home capabilities, the Touchscreen HomePod also enables new kinds of entertainment experiences. Users can view lyrics, album art, and visualizations synchronized to music playback. The display can also be used for video calls, watching videos, or even following recipes during cooking.
In the rest of this article, we will explore the Touchscreen HomePod’s key features, compatibility, and connectivity options in more depth.
Display and Touchscreen
The most significant new hardware addition to the Touchscreen HomePod is its integrated display. The speaker features a 7-inch screen on the top panel, which is used for graphical interfaces, visual responses, and media viewing.
The display has a resolutions of 1024 x 600 pixels. While not as sharp as the screens on iPhones or iPads, it provides ample detail for smart home controls, lyrics, album art, and more. The screen also supports True Tone technology to automatically adjust color temperature based on ambient lighting conditions.
Surrounding the display is the Touchscreen HomePod’s familiar mesh fabric exterior. However, the top surface is now touch-enabled. Users can perform taps and swipes on the screen to navigate interfaces or control music playback. The touch controls also support multi-touch gestures.
With both a display and a touch-sensitive surface, the Touchscreen HomePod provides flexibility for new types of interfaces. Apple has redesigned parts of the software to take advantage of these capabilities and enable visual smart home control and media viewing.
How to use Computational Audio
Like previous HomePod models, the Touchscreen HomePod utilizes Apple’s custom S7 chip to power advanced computational audio capabilities. This allows the speaker to intelligently analyze music in real-time and adjust beamforming to provide an immersive, high-fidelity listening experience.
The Touchscreen HomePod features five tweeters arrayed around the bottom of the speaker for crisp, detailed high frequencies. The tweeter array works together with the S7 chip to deliver wide stereo separation and rich stereo imaging.
Additionally, the HomePod contains a 4-inch high-excursion woofer placed near the top of the speaker. This produces deep, rich bass and works with the tweeters to deliver a full range, high-quality listening experience perfect for any genre of music.
Powering all this audio technology is a new waveform guide that evenly disperses bass frequencies. This helps minimize distortion, even at high volumes. Plus, an acoustic mesh covering the tweeters enables 360-degree sound while protecting the delicate components.
As with other HomePod models, users can pair two Touchscreen HomePods together for stereo sound. When placed in different rooms, the speakers can also enable whole-home audio by wirelessly syncing music playback.
What is Siri Capabilities
The Touchscreen HomePod includes full support for Apple’s Siri voice assistant. Users can access Siri by saying “Hey Siri” at any time.
Siri enables hands-free control of music playback on the Touchscreen HomePod. You can request specific songs, albums, playlists or stations. Siri will search across Apple Music, podcasts, radio stations, and your own media library to fulfill requests.
In addition, Siri on the Touchscreen HomePod provides typical virtual assistant features like:
- Answering basic questions
- Reporting weather, traffic, news, and more
- Setting timers and reminders
- Dictating messages and notes
- Controlling smart home devices
The touchscreen adds some unique capabilities to Siri on the HomePod. You can now view visual responses to certain queries. For example, sports scores or weather forecasts will appear on-screen instead of just being read aloud.
Siri also allows voice control of any smart home automations you set up. Since the Touchscreen HomePod acts as a home hub, Siri provides a unified way to control accessories no matter where you are.
What is Smart Home Capabilities
A major focus of the Touchscreen HomePod is delivering a seamless smart home experience. Apple built the speaker to serve as the control center for one’s connected home.
The Touchscreen HomePod fully supports Matter, the new smart home connectivity standard backed by Apple, Google, Amazon, and others. Any Matter-certified accessories will work with the HomePod without needing extra hubs or bridges.
Since the Touchscreen HomePod itself acts as a Matter hub, it enables remote access and automation for your smart home devices. You can check camera feeds, lock doors, turn on lights, and adjust temperature whether you’re at home or away.
The touchscreen provides quick visual access to all of your HomeKit accessories. You can tap to control devices individually or trigger scenes and automations that coordinate multiple devices at once.
Using Siri, you can control HomeKit devices with voice commands like:
- “Hey Siri, turn on the lights”
- “Hey Siri, set the temperature to 68 degrees”
- “Hey Siri, good morning” (could trigger lights, coffee maker, etc)
With a Touchscreen HomePod in multiple rooms, you get whole-home control that stays in sync. The speakers wirelessly communicate to ensure seamless access and unified automations throughout your living space.
Beyond sound quality and smart home control, the Touchscreen HomePod also aims to enhance entertainment experiences. The built-in display enables new ways to engage with music, videos, and more.
For music, the screen displays synchronized lyrics so you can sing along to your favorite songs. Album art and related imagery also appears automatically for certain tracks.
When listening to spatial audio mixes, the Touchscreen HomePod provides immersive visualizations that pulse and react to the music. This creates an even more engaging listening experience.
For video, the 7-inch screen works well for watching movie trailers, news clips, sports highlights and more. You can also make FaceTime video calls directly on the Touchscreen HomePod.
In the kitchen, step-by-step recipe instructions can be viewed on the screen to guide you through cooking your favorite meals. The touch interface makes it easy to scroll through steps or set timers.
Connectivity and Compatibility
Like other HomePod models, the Touchscreen HomePod offers versatile connectivity options. It can connect directly to your home Wi-Fi network to access Apple Music, podcasts, and other internet-based content.
For local device connectivity, the HomePod includes Apple’s U1 ultra wideband chip. This enables quick pairing with your iPhone just by bringing it close to the speaker.
Once connected to your iPhone, you can easily hand off music or podcasts by touching your phone to the top of the HomePod. This is enabled by the U1 chip and Apple’s handoff technology.
You can also use AirPlay from an iPhone, iPad or Mac to wirelessly stream audio or video to the Touchscreen HomePod. Up to two HomePods can be paired for a stereo configuration.
In terms of compatibility, the Touchscreen HomePod requires an iPhone or iPad running at least iOS/iPadOS 16.1 or later. This provides the latest Home architecture needed for Matter support and new Siri capabilities.
The speaker is also optimized for Apple Music and iTunes purchases. However, other streaming platforms like Spotify can be accessed on a Touchscreen HomePod through AirPlay from a phone or computer.
The new Touchscreen HomePod represents an exciting expansion of Apple’s smart speaker line. It combines Apple’s excellent sound quality and smart home integration with new entertainment and visual capabilities unlocked by the built-in touch display.
Between its support for Matter, redesigned Siri interactions, and whole-home syncing, the Touchscreen HomePod aims to provide the ultimate smart home control center. Meanwhile, new experiences like handoff media transfers, synchronized lyrics, and video viewing showcase innovative ways HomePod can enhance entertainment.
With the Touchscreen HomePod, Apple has once again demonstrated its commitment to delivering unmatched sound, seamless smart home experiences, and innovative features in one cohesive package. As Apple’s smart speaker ecosystem continues to evolve, the Touchscreen HomePod lays the groundwork for the next generation of intuitive, audio-driven interfaces powered by Siri intelligence.