Apple reveals HomePod control gestures and more juicy details

By

HomePod-welcome
HomePod is on its way.
Photo: Apple

After confirming HomePod will finally make its debut on February 9 — with preorders starting this Friday — Apple has revealed new details about its hotly anticipated smart speaker.

Here’s what you need to know about HomePod gesture controls and more.

While a series of leaks revealed many of HomePod’s features following the device’s unveiling last June, there’s plenty still to learn. Will HomePod pack enough new features, or awesome enough audio, to beat out Amazon Echo and Google Home?

Thanks to an update to Apple’s website Tuesday, we now know how to control HomePod using touch gestures and other new details about how the speaker will work.

HomePod gestures let you control it by touch

Just like other smart speakers, HomePod is designed to be controlled primarily by voice. But thanks to a small touchpad on top of the device, you can use gestures for certain things. If you’ve ever used Apple headphones, you will already be familiar with them.

Tapping the touchpad once will play or pause a track, while a double-tap will skip it. Triple-tapping will take you back to the previous track, while tapping and holding will summon Siri. The plus and minus buttons — as you’ve probably guessed — control volume.

HomePod controls
HomePod’s touch gestures.
Photo: Apple

These are the same gestures you use to control media playback on AirPods and EarPods, so they shouldn’t be too difficult for Apple fans to learn. But if you forget them, you can say “Hey Siri” and ask Apple’s smart assistant to control HomePod for you.

HomePod won’t take calls

Another tidbit revealed on Apple’s website: You will have the ability to send calls from your iPhone to a HomePod using Handoff. This will be particularly useful for conference calls in an office setting. HomePod will also be able to read your texts aloud.

Sadly, however, you won’t be able to make or receive calls using HomePod itself.

AppleCare+ coverage for HomePod will cost $39, according to a document distributed to Apple Stores and obtained by 9to5Mac. The coverage includes AirPort devices and “adds up to two incidents of accidental damage from handling for HomePod, each subject to a $39 service fee.”