Apple’s HomePod will support VoiceOver, other accessibility features

“Earlier today Apple pushed out firmware for the HomePod smart speaker ahead of its launch in December, and naturally developer Steve Troughton-Smith has unpacked the code and discovered new details,” Zac Hall reports for 9to5Mac.

“HomePod firmware code (labeled AudioAccessory1,1) shows that the smart speaker runs the full iOS stack like an iPhone without a screen and relies on a shell app called SoundBoard (presumably like SpringBoard on iOS),” Hall reports. “Like Apple’s other products, HomePod will support accessibility features including VoiceOver according to the firmware code.”

Hall reports, “Troughton-Smith believes the illuminated part of the HomePod top surface is an LED matrix versus a few large LEDs which could support more than just plus and minus symbols and the Siri animation in the future.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s accessibility features are simply unmatched; light years ahead of would-be rivals and HomePod just extends the huge gap between Apple and the also-rans.

Apple wins kudos for accessibility and smart home tech empowering people with disabilities – May 18, 2017
Apple continues to lead in accessibility awareness and innovation – May 19, 2016
How a simple Apple feature is changing lives – July 28, 2015
How the Apple Watch is opening up new ways to communicate – May 20, 2015
You know, blind people can actually use touchscreens – January 29, 2015
iPad app brings Braille keyboard to blind users’ fingertips – January 24, 2015
Apple patent applications reveal In-App features, fingerprint scanning enrollment and accessibility inventions – July 31, 2014
OS X Mavericks: How to control your Mac with your voice – April 9, 2014
Can Apple help make hearing aids cool? – March 10, 2014
Apple files new patents relating to haptics, Thunderbolt, iSight and improved accessibility for the hearing impaired – August 23, 2012
Inside Apple’s OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: New iOS-style Accessibility – July 18, 2012
Stevie Wonder thanks Steve Jobs, praises Apple for iOS accessibility – September 15, 2011
Good news for music fans with vision loss: Apple adds accessibility features to iPod nano and iTunes – September 18, 2008


  1. But… but… but I can get seven Echo Dots for the price of one HomePod. One Echo Dot for every room in my house. I can sit on the toilet asking Alexa all sorts of interesting questions. The Echo Dot is more sanitary than a newspaper or magazine in the potty room. Archie Bunker would have loved Alexa cooing back at him.

    I see plenty of articles asking why anyone should buy a HomePod over an Echo Dot. Most are in favor of the Echo Dot. Wall Street favors the Echo Dot based on a theoretical seven-to-one market share percentage. Amazon wins hands down, as usual.

  2. So VoiceOver would work how? You’d be on another Apple device and drag the cursor over words and the audio would come out of the HomePod? Is that the concept?

    Comparing to the Amazon Echo, there certainly is a large crossover of functionality and I see why comparisons are being made, despite the fact that there are no actual HomePods on the market yet.

    But, Apple has created the audio quality functionality, including stereo if you buy two. In that sense, the HomePod is a different device. Obviously, with cross-device functionality, there’s another thing the Echo can’t do. If apps can be added, there’s another unique ability. And no doubt there will be others.

    Meanwhile, if all you want is Echo functionality, you have to give credit to Amazon for pioneering that market. Adding in Echo Dots is excellent. But note how we’re circling in on the HomePod interacting with any iOS, and probably macOS, device. So instead of an Echo Dot, you bring your iPhone or even iPod Touch into the bathroom with you for interactivity.

    Since Apple is to a large extent following Amazon here, I suspect an Echo Dot sort of device may well follow the HomePod. It depends up on what Apple wants to do in the market.

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