HomePod as speakerphone

by Volker Weber

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The HomePods have had a hard time finding a place in my built-out Sonos home. There are speakers in every room and most of them are better (and more expensive) than a HomePod, or even a pair of HomePods. But eventually they have turned out to be the best solution for an unlikely use case:

HomePod is a great conference speaker. And it has only gotten better with the iOS 12 release.

You can tell Siri to call somebody and it will ask for details, if it finds multiple phone numbers. During the call, the other person seems to be right in the room. Unlike the speaker on an iPhone, voices come across fully. The other party seems to be in the room. HomePod is also great for picking up voices in its own room and transferring them across. It's better than any Polycom I have used before. Maybe they have gotten better and I am dissing their more recent products, but that's my experience. You don't have to make the call through Siri. You can also transfer the call to a HomePod by tapping on the audio button during a call to transfer it. This allows you to first introduce the other party to the idea that you will be putting them on speaker.

We have seen Apple TV making their way into conference rooms so that presentation can be run over Airplay to a projector or a screen attached to a wall. We may also see HomePods showing up there. Since there is no other way to secure them, you may need to glue them to the table.

There is one important caveat: if you want Siri to place a call, you need to open up personal requests on your iPhone. Which allows anybody to walk up to a HomePod and ask for your schedule, hear your messages or dial your phone. If you don't want that, you will have to go through your iPhone, or Siri on your iPhone, to make place calls.

Comments

My hope was to get a similiar call experience with UE Blast and its farfields mics. This did not work out. Indeed a homepod might so get a serious role.

Peter Meuser, 2018-09-30

Quite interesting, thanks, Volker!

Hubert Stettner, 2018-09-30

My one wish for HomePod would be being able to use speaker and mic from a Mac. Currently it seems you can only do the speaker bit, if I could add mic then I would use it for online meetings that use computer audio.

Declan Lynch, 2018-10-01

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.

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