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ThatsMrsGeek2U

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 5, 2012
55
16
Solutions for Apple ecosystem house smart-system hands free interface?
Homepod still does not fit the need, does apple really think everyone should use their phones/watches for this?

•We need something cost reasonable enough to be in 6-9 rooms. A few of these rooms have things in them that maybe could do double duty (TV or iMac)
•We need intercom style communication, our house is laid out in a way intercoms are a massive help, specially with a separate home shop, and also with kids.
•We need the system to be always on, totally hands free, and linked to the apple ecosystem and our iCloud accounts (calendar, reminders, HomeKit)

•Happy to hack stuff, tweek things, but in the end, I need it to be stable for the other family members.

thoughts? Maybe ways to use retired phones/ipads/TV Units?
So irritated Apple hasn’t solved this yet with some product mesh That does not involved each person having a product on them.
 

TonyC28

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Aug 15, 2009
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I actually emailed Tim Cook about this in 2014. The HomePod kind of addresses it but not really. I also really wish they’d let us customize the “hey, Siri” command.
 
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Itinj24

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Nov 8, 2017
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The HomePod should absolutely have a built in intercom. Was on my wishlist for Homepod iOS14.
 
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Debauch

macrumors member
Jul 6, 2013
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I wrote a Siri shortcut that sort of does this ... my phone dictates what I say and sends the audio to HomePod. HomePod says what I say but in Siri’s voice. An actual intercom would be nice though.
 
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ThatsMrsGeek2U

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 5, 2012
55
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I still am not going to have $1500 of HomePods in my house that fall short of what $200 of EchoDots do, so workarounds to just the intercom issue don't address the whole issue.

Any other thought folks?
 
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Itinj24

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I still am not going to have $1500 of HomePods in my house that fall short of what $200 of EchoDots do, so workarounds to just the intercom issue don't address the whole issue.

Any other thought folks?
Inexpensive HomeKit cameras with 2 way audio but then you got to have those cameras running all the time. Maybe some type of external cover so you have just the audio but also video if ever you need it.

Assign retired iPads/iPhones/iPods an iCloud account with a name specific to the room it’s in (ex. johnnybedroom@icloud.com) and mount that iPad/iPhone/iPod to Johnny’s bedroom wall and use FaceTime as a video intercom.

I’m not very savvy in HomeBridge but maybe there is a way to link a third party WiFi intercom system with HomeKit in there. Search for HomeBridge plug-ins on Google. I think Github is where you can find them. HOOBS makes a module with HomeBridge already installed if it’s too intimidating to do on your own.
 
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ThatsMrsGeek2U

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 5, 2012
55
16
Yeah i think a networked family of wall mounted ipad mini has always been my favorite solution idea. Though these days we tend to run our iOS devices down to their last legs. Since we have kids, we have a hearty hand-me down program in the household. (Though annoyingly, not always from oldest to youngest those little brats)

i should look into what gen ipad mini can handle this type of use and start hunting them down on the resale markets.
 
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Itinj24

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Nov 8, 2017
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Yeah i think a networked family of wall mounted ipad mini has always been my favorite solution idea. Though these days we tend to run our iOS devices down to their last legs. Since we have kids, we have a hearty hand-me down program in the household. (Though annoyingly, not always from oldest to youngest those little brats)

i should look into what gen ipad mini can handle this type of use and start hunting them down on the resale markets.
What’s good about the iPads over the Homepods is that you can get video feeds from any cameras you may have installed, like the front entrance door/doorbell. My plan was to put one on the wall of every room in my house (or even an iPod touch) and have that as the main controller for everything HomeKit in that particular room. In other words, leave the room on the HomeKit app open and running constantly in that room, for that room. If it’s being occupied, it can handle other tasks too like video “intercom” via FaceTime (great for multiple rooms via Group FaceTime)...
 
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ThatsMrsGeek2U

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 5, 2012
55
16
This would be much easier if apple would allow some sort of tethered sub-accounts to a Apple ID separate from a family plan.
something that was more tethered, but able to have more of them.

so each room or each device had an id code:
person.device@icloud.com

make them unlimited in number, but maybe make them more like a CarPlay interface for HomeKit not a full fledged iOS device.

We already have our 4 family members on family sharing, we are considering making a 5th “neutral” person as the “house” for some other reasons of being able to disconect my apple id from shared devices like the TV. But with a limit of 6, we can start doing that for additional rooms.
 
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Itinj24

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Nov 8, 2017
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This would be much easier if apple would allow some sort of tethered sub-accounts to a Apple ID separate from a family plan.
something that was more tethered, but able to have more of them.

so each room or each device had an id code:
person.device@icloud.com

make them unlimited in number, but maybe make them more like a CarPlay interface for HomeKit not a full fledged iOS device.

We already have our 4 family members on family sharing, we are considering making a 5th “neutral” person as the “house” for some other reasons of being able to disconect my apple id from shared devices like the TV. But with a limit of 6, we can start doing that for additional rooms.
Yes I agree but this is just a workaround, albeit an expensive one lol. Apple can do so much more with the Home and HomeKit.
 
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inkahauts

macrumors 6502
Sep 7, 2014
412
188
Set aside the intercom issue. After that was is the issue with HomePod ? It does access the person who’s speaking calendars and reminders and messages and so forth. So what am I missing? The intercom is annoying they haven’t dealt with that yet but otherwise...
 
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Itinj24

macrumors 68000
Nov 8, 2017
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Price sure although you are 100 high on each unit anymore it seems if you wait for a sale..

But what status check?
I’m guessing to check on HomeKit accessory statuses.
[automerge]1595830321[/automerge]
$299x6 rooms = $1,794 and still no screen/video for status checks
If you ask the HomePod, Siri will give you a status on any HomeKit accessory.
“Hey, Siri, is my front door locked?”
“Hey, Siri, what’s the temperature in the master bedroom?”
 
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dotme

macrumors 65816
Oct 18, 2011
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I don't know if this was mentioned, but HomePods have an uncanny ability to hear you from the other side of the house. One on the main floor is probably sufficient in many cases, which then just leaves remote spaces and rooms.
 
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ThatsMrsGeek2U

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 5, 2012
55
16
I don't know if this was mentioned, but HomePods have an uncanny ability to hear you from the other side of the house. One on the main floor is probably sufficient in many cases, which then just leaves remote spaces and rooms.
Being able to share one unit in between rooms might be convenient if you’re the one person who’s walking around and just need to talk from one human to the system it fails when what you’re actually looking for is someway for a family to interact which includes being able to talk from one room to another room and from one human to another human in that other room that requires an individually identified unit in each of the rooms
 
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ThatsMrsGeek2U

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 5, 2012
55
16
I’m guessing to check on HomeKit accessory statuses.
[automerge]1595830321[/automerge]

If you ask the HomePod, Siri will give you a status on any HomeKit accessory.
“Hey, Siri, is my front door locked?”
“Hey, Siri, what’s the temperature in the master bedroom?”
there’s a lot of status checks that I don’t want Siri to describe the answers to me out loud.
I want to look at the data whether it’s a video or a quick visual check of powered on lights, or location Data, a pictures worth 1000 words
 
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Itinj24

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Nov 8, 2017
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there’s a lot of status checks that I don’t want Siri to describe the answers to me out loud.
I want to look at the data whether it’s a video or a quick visual check of powered on lights, or location Data, a pictures worth 1000 words
Ok now you’re confusing me on what the HomePod is lol. It’s a speaker and microphone purposed to receive verbal commands/queries and spit out verbal acknowledgments/answers.

If you want visuals, I’m sure you have an iPhone at the very least. If you don’t have your phone close by in your house, add some wall mounted iPads.

I can see the value of an intercom function with the HomePod and it was on my wishlist for iOS14 but for now, it just isn’t there.
 
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ThatsMrsGeek2U

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 5, 2012
55
16
Ok now you’re confusing me on what the HomePod is lol. It’s a speaker and microphone purposed to receive verbal commands/queries and spit out verbal acknowledgments/answers.

If you want visuals, I’m sure you have an iPhone at the very least. If you don’t have your phone close by in your house, add some wall mounted iPads.

I can see the value of an intercom function with the HomePod and it was on my wishlist for iOS14 but for now, it just isn’t there.

I have no issue with what a HomePod is, I also have little to no use for it. Since I'm not an audiophile and not rich and need an intercom, it is never going to work for me unless it shifts to something considerable different. Since then it would not serve the market it severs now, that is not likely to ever happen. But since they present it as a control point for HomeKit, its fair to point out that is actually kinda sucks in that role.

So I'm speaking theoretically about what else Apple could have to fill the need of a smart home control center and/or adjunct interfaces.
Since being in place hands free for whomever needs it when they need it, it being an on person device attached to the user rather than the home is limiting, and wall mounting iPads, which are the closest solution we have at this point, has intercoms issues because of needing to attach to an AppleID, yet my house would probably need around 6 of them, the problem us yet unsolved
 
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Itinj24

macrumors 68000
Nov 8, 2017
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There you have it!!!

Someone from Apple was definitely following this thread lol. Hope the functionality comes to the regular HomePod. Can’t see it being a hardware limitation since it works with AirPods. Intercom with CarPlay too??? Insanity...
 
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ThatsMrsGeek2U

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 5, 2012
55
16
Yup, I'm a happy camper, while i would have rathered some form factor that led itself to wall mointing more, I love spheres and they lead themselves to fun aftermarket holders. todays anouncement is the deathblow to alexa in my home.
 
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Itinj24

macrumors 68000
Nov 8, 2017
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823
New York
Yup, I'm a happy camper, while i would have rathered some form factor that led itself to wall mointing more, I love spheres and they lead themselves to fun aftermarket holders. todays anouncement is the deathblow to alexa in my home.
I was also questioning the wall mountability with this design but I’m sure there will be several third parties out there that’ll produce some things. At the very least a small nice looking shelf of your decor preference should do the trick.

To be honest, the HomePod Mini was the star of the show for me personally.
 
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ThatsMrsGeek2U

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 5, 2012
55
16
Yeah 5 are on our first wave and are our collective house holiday gifts, we are pretty happy.

The cord being attached and coming off the side drives the ID part of me nuts. It limited the placement logistics and aftermarket ecosystem, i would have loved a usb-c port on the bottom and/or it resting on a MagSafe charger, really miss opportunity there. I miss Jony.
 
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