New icons uncovered in the latest iOS 11.2.5 developer build confirm that, yes, HomePod owners will be able to disable the microphone on Apple’s smart speaker should so they wish to do so.
Given Apple’s privacy-conscious policies, and the fact that rival speakers made by Amazon and Google allow the same to be done, it’s no surprise that Apple would make that an option on HomePod. Still, it could help ease fears among customers concerned about the risk of housing an “always listening” speaker in their homes.
According to the Home app assets, users with HomePod will be able to create “scenes” that disable Siri temporarily. It will probably be very useful for parties. pic.twitter.com/k2gPc50Kmr
— Filipe Espósito (@filipekids) January 21, 2018
In my own experience, the “mute” feature on smart speakers is incredibly useful when you’re watching TV or having a conversation about the tech in question. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve accidentally triggered either my Google Home or Amazon Echo smart speakers without realizing it, only to hear them begin speaking — seemingly unprompted.
Apple did not previously confirm that it would offer a mute button on the HomePod, which can function as a HomeKit hub (just like Apple TV or a dedicated iPad). However, Apple’s HomePod documentation emphasizes the importance of “protect[ing] your privacy” through anonymous ID and encryption.
HomePod on its way to Apple (at last!)
Apple’s HomePod smart speaker was originally scheduled to launch ahead of the holidays last year, but Apple delayed it until “early 2018.”
Last week, a report suggested that the first finished production units of the smart speaker are on their way to Apple from their manufacturers. Apple also received Federal Communications Commission approval for the HomePod last week.
During 2018, Apple reportedly plans to produce 10 million to 12 million units of the Siri-powered smart speaker and home=automation hub.
Are you excited about HomePod? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.