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HomePod firmware gives us a few more clues about Apple's smart speaker

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The Apple HomePod is coming this December, you might remember, and thanks to some detailed firmware analysis from developer Steve Troughton-Smith (opens in new tab), we now know a little bit more about the smart speaker soon to be invading our homes.

It looks like the device is running on a pretty full version of iOS - just without the screen, obviously - but for now there's no support for third-party apps on the speaker, according to the digging Troughton-Smith has been doing.

That doesn't mean the HomePod will never support third-party apps (remember the first iPhone), and Apple may indeed add the capability between now and December, but as the firmware stands at the moment you won't be installing Spotify or Audible on the HomePod.

Enter the matrix

Other clues we have from the code suggest the touch surface at the top is an LED matrix capable of displaying shapes and symbols, not just a collection of LED lights. It also seems that Apple's accessibility features, like VoiceOver, are included.

The device's on-board controls, meanwhile, are limited to activating Siri, adjusting the volume, and setting alarms on the HomePod, but we pretty much knew that anyway after getting some hands-on time with the speaker in June.

Not much to go on but some extra nuggets of information for those of you eagerly awaiting the HomePod's introduction. The device goes on sale in the US, the UK and Australia in December, costing $349 (about £265 or AU$435), with international pricing still to be announced (it's unlikely to be a straight currency conversion).

Via Engadget (opens in new tab)

David Nield
David Nield

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.