HomePod HomePod Skills?

ipedro

macrumors 603
Original poster
Nov 30, 2004
5,267
6,062
Toronto, ON
Now that I’ve entered the world of “smart speakers”, I’ve started paying attention to what Alexa is offering.

While I feel that Alexa has gone overboard with the equivalent of fart apps, I wish there were a collection of SiriKit apps that worked with HomePod.

One Alexa skill that stood out to me was ambient sounds. “Alexa, play rain sounds”. That would sound fantastic on HomePod! There’s also a “7 Minute Workout” skill. I can see where vastly expanding SiriKit and including it in HomePod would create immense value in a smart speaker.

Existing SiriKit apps like car sharing and To Do apps would be useful too. Saying “Hey Siri, get me an Uber” on your way out the door would be great as would “Hey Siri, remind me in Things to buy milk”.

But we’re far from that it appears. HomePod can’t even check your own calendar events. If Siri can do that, why can’t HomePod?

Apple just barely launched a barebones Siri device in HomePod but I hope that it improves rapidly like AppleWatch did in its first year. I’ll be looking to WWDC for some big Siri and HomePod announcements.

What HomePod “skills” do you want?
 
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darthbane2k

macrumors 6502a
Oct 22, 2009
650
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Don’t existing Siri kit apps already work? I can certainly send / read WhatsApp messages from HomePod for example
 

Shanghaichica

macrumors G4
Apr 8, 2013
11,966
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Don’t existing Siri kit apps already work? I can certainly send / read WhatsApp messages from HomePod for example
How do you send what’s app messages from the HomePod without it handing off to the iPhone?
[doublepost=1520062384][/doublepost]
I’m sure calendar events will be added soon. Seems very simple thing to include
Yes calendar events and being able to answer and make calls using voice commands are my top 2 wishes for features.
 

brsilb

macrumors newbie
Mar 3, 2018
7
1
Its pretty disappointing that Homepod has a weaker Siri than in other devices. For example, you need iPhone to set up Homepod, but you can't make a phone call... This should be basic. I have my Amazon Echo sitting right next to my Homepodas it will do so much more, including making calls from iPhone!!. Apple was late to the game with Homepod but it is an inferior product right now. Sound quality is great but it needs to be a complete product. Come on Apple, get real!!
 

Julien

macrumors G4
Jun 30, 2007
11,282
4,265
Atlanta
Its pretty disappointing that Homepod has a weaker Siri than in other devices. For example, you need iPhone to set up Homepod, but you can't make a phone call... This should be basic. I have my Amazon Echo sitting right next to my Homepodas it will do so much more, including making calls from iPhone!!. Apple was late to the game with Homepod but it is an inferior product right now. Sound quality is great but it needs to be a complete product. Come on Apple, get real!!
Even MORE disappointing is that Apple can't make Siri as a single Siri or singularity for each account/person. I hate having 6 Siris that are different and hardly know each other. One Siri that can do anything on any device to any device.
 

mangopango

macrumors newbie
Feb 24, 2018
8
7
Now that I’ve entered the world of “smart speakers”, I’ve started paying attention to what Alexa is offering.

.....

One Alexa skill that stood out to me was ambient sounds. “Alexa, play rain sounds”. That would sound fantastic on HomePod! There’s also a “7 Minute Workout” skill. ........

.......

But we’re far from that it appears. HomePod can’t even check your own calendar events. If Siri can do that, why can’t HomePod?

Apple just barely launched a barebones Siri device in HomePod but I hope that it improves rapidly like AppleWatch did in its first year. I’ll be looking to WWDC for some big Siri and HomePod announcements.

What HomePod “skills” do you want?
I play Thunderstorms or Ocean sounds on my HomePod every night at bedtime. I do subscribe to Apple Music and their catalog includes many albums with nature sounds. You could put it on repeat if you want. "Siri, play Thunderstorms" is all I need to say.

It isn't as easy as an Alexa skill, but you can download any 7 minute workout app to an IOS device and send the sound to the HomePod via Airplay. (Control center, open Music, select that HomePod from the Airplay speakers)

Checking calendar events, making phone calls, etc... all of that I suspect will come when they figure out how to address the privacy concerns with having multi-person households. I am not sure if they will allow multiple Apple IDs connected to one HomePod or personal voice recognition. I agree it is annoying, especially since living alone I should be able to opt in to allowing full access to my calendar and contacts. I can, however, send text messages which is convenient. I don't need to hunt down my phone to reply to a text message.

As for barebones Siri, well it is Apple's choice to create a specialized Siri command list for devices based upon their use. Siri on HomePod has an enhanced command set for music search, play and control. It also is pretty good HomeKit commands. I have gotten used to the focus on music commands with the HomePod, although I can understand why people want it to do everything their iPhone can do.
 

TrueBlou

macrumors 68040
Sep 16, 2014
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Scotland
Siri’s ability’s on the HomePod will, without a shadow of a doubt, expand and improve in time. And probably not too much time at that.

I’d also expect there to be more third-party SiriKit use in relatively short time, if HomePod proves to sell well.

I’d also expect Apple to expand on the currently available SiriKit integration.
I’m expecting a few announcements at WWDC for both Apple’s planned expansion of Siri on HomePod and an enhanced SiriKit.

I’d expect and hope that at this point Echo has significantly more features and third-party integration. It’s had an almost 4 year head start on that front.
I dare say if HomePod proves popular with consumers, it’ll be a very different product in 4 years time.
 
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za9ra22

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2003
524
83
...I’d expect and hope that at this point Echo has significantly more features and third-party integration. It’s had an almost 4 year head start on that front....
Siri has been around for years on iOS devices - Apple have had plenty of time to develop the technology and be out in front of Amazon and Google. They clearly didn't have an interest in doing so. Likely still don't.
 
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maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,803
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Apple have had plenty of time to develop the technology and be out in front of Amazon and Google. They clearly didn't have an interest in doing so. Likely still don't.
I think it was more of underestimating the competition and now that Amazon has a superior digital assistant we'll see some improvements with Siri
 

TrueBlou

macrumors 68040
Sep 16, 2014
3,907
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Siri has been around for years on iOS devices - Apple have had plenty of time to develop the technology and be out in front of Amazon and Google. They clearly didn't have an interest in doing so. Likely still don't.
I was referring to it in the context of the HomePod. But you are right, there's a lot more Apple could do with Siri. but now that there's serious competition from Amazon, Google and well Samsung is getting there. They are likely to push forward with more.

When has Apple ever rushed with anything. Siri on iOS devices has by and large achieved what Apple intended it to do on iOS, it's supposed to be an interface for performing basic tasks hands-free and thats exactly what it does. That's not to say it's what all of the consumers want, that's different altogether. There's a lot of people who want the more deeply integrated, more invasive feature set offered by the likes of Google.

Apple has already started their system for providing more features, it does however take time to develop a system which can provide the same level of deep integration offered by the likes of Google and Amazon, without doing the level of individual consumer tracking they both employ. It's been a little over a year since Apple started using their Differential Privacy system, which is what they intend to use to offer a deeper integration of Siri, without the invasive tracking of you as an individual.

It's well documented that it's Apple's insistence on consumer privacy that has held Siri back. But they aren't just sitting on their hands, to think they are would be foolish. They didn't get where they are by not (eventually) providing what consumers want. They just insist on doing it differently, providing a similar feature set to the likes of Google's Assistant without tracking you as an individual is no mean feat, to say the least.

Even opening up Siri to third-party developers only happened less than two years ago. In that regard the competition has still had a long head start. There's actually a lot of apps which now incorporate SiriKit into their iOS apps, even a quick look through the App Store will show that.

SiriKit for HomePod was introduced less than 6 months ago. So in the *ahem* smart speaker market the competition has still had more than 3 years of a head start. We cant develop for a platform which does not exist, so SiriKit for HomePod is in it's infancy.

As a consumer I'm maybe different to the vast majority. I'm mostly happy with Siri, even as it is. It provides the basic feature set I want from a voice assistant and protects my privacy while doing so. That's just fine by me.
I won't complain when they add more features and make Siri "smarter" and I'm perfectly happy to wait it out for the length of time it takes them to do it in a way that keeps my information private.
So yeah, I'm probably not the general mass-market kind of consumer.
 

brsilb

macrumors newbie
Mar 3, 2018
7
1
I am an Apple user all the way back to the Apple II and the Lisa. In the Homepod I think they missed the market need. They went after the best sound. They did not go after the practical side of the market. They should call the product the HomeSpeaker! Not many people have the ear to detect great speaker sound, but ALL users have the need to make phone calls, ask for movie times, etc. It is a great speaker but a lousy assistant. At $349 I expected better. I didn't return it because it works great with Apple music. Also, I am hoping for improvements. WWDC is 3 months away, so I'm hoping updates roll out quicker than that.
 
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TrueBlou

macrumors 68040
Sep 16, 2014
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I am an Apple user all the way back to the Apple II and the Lisa. In the Homepod I think they missed the market need. They went after the best sound. They did not go after the practical side of the market. They should call the product the HomeSpeaker! Not many people have the ear to detect great speaker sound, but ALL users have the need to make phone calls, ask for movie times, etc. It is a great speaker but a lousy assistant. At $349 I expected better. I didn't return it because it works great with Apple music. Also, I am hoping for improvements. WWDC is 3 months away, so I'm hoping updates roll out quicker than that.

Like you I’m a long time Apple user (among other platforms. But for a long time it’s been primarily Apple). You may be right about them missing the market. But look at their history.

The iPod came years after everyone else had hundreds of different MP3 players on the go. It took a couple of revisions, but the iPod eventually dominated.

They certainly weren’t first with a smartphone. There was a market with dozens of brands and dozens of smartphones. Along cane the iPhone and by the time the iPhone 3G came along they were on their way to dominate another market.

The same can be said for Apple Watch. They were a couple of years behind everyone else. And they certainly didn’t get it completely right out of the gate. Yet by all accounts they’re dominating that market too.

That’s not to say they don’t make their blunders, of course they do, nobody’s perfect. But their mistakes are significantly fewer than their successes.

With HomePod, what I don’t understand and I honestly mean no offence to anyone when I say this. But how can you be disappointed with it?

By all means do or don’t like how it sounds. But as far as the feature set goes, Apple have been clear as day as to what it currently does and does not do.

I mean, to be sure I’ve gone back and read the entirety of the product page again. Everything that’s there described exactly what we have.

But hey, we’re all entitled to make our own choices at the end of the day. And I’m certainly not going to try and tell anyone what they should do, nobody knows another persons mind. I just personally don’t see how anyone can expect it to be more than what’s advertised.

It’s very early days for the HomePod. There will be a lot more to come from it.
After all, like any of the rest of these things, they are actually computers. Just not as we’re used to seeing them.

There’s good reason Apple put the processing grunt and the large amount (for a speaker) of storage space and RAM in there. It’s because the feature set is not etched in stone. It’s designed from the ground up to evolve over time.

We either accept what we have for now and try to be patient while waiting for more. Or just don’t buy it until it suits your needs and wants. If it never does, there’s some good alternatives. If you don’t care about the privacy stuff and let’s be honest, a lot of people don’t give a damn who records them discussing what peanut butter is best.

And like you, I’m pretty sure we’ll hear a good bit more about the future of HomePod come WWDC.
 

za9ra22

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2003
524
83
I think everyone assumes that Apple are now competing with Amazon and Google in the smart speaker market and thus have motivation to improve Siri. But I don't think they are in competition in that space at all. Given how carefully they have oriented Siri on the HomePod as it stands, I think they are deliberately focussed on Siri as a music and homekit controller and kept the entirety of the product within the ecosystem to keep it unique and isolated from the Amazon/Google marketplace.

That isn't to say Apple won't add functionality to Siri because I am sure they will, but predominantly I'd bet it will be focussed within the ecosystem too.
 
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TrueBlou

macrumors 68040
Sep 16, 2014
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I think everyone assumes that Apple are now competing with Amazon and Google in the smart speaker market and thus have motivation to improve Siri. But I don't think they are in competition in that space at all. Given how carefully they have oriented Siri on the HomePod as it stands, I think they are deliberately focussed on Siri as a music and homekit controller and kept the entirety of the product within the ecosystem to keep it unique and isolated from the Amazon/Google marketplace.

That isn't to say Apple won't add functionality to Siri because I am sure they will, but predominantly I'd bet it will be focussed within the ecosystem too.
You’re spot on there, that’s exactly where Apple want to position HomePod. They probably always will tout its sonic abilities above everything else.

But they’re not stupid, they know people want “smarts”, so they’ll bring them bit by bit.

I think the biggest change they’re going to make, come WWDC, is opening SiriKit up further to us. With greater flexibility and integration with SiriKit, there’s more chance of third-party “skills” being developed for the HomePod.

Personally I think the first thing they need to do, is remove as much of the reliance on the iPhone as possible and make the HomePod more independent.
 
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canyonblue737

macrumors 65816
Jan 10, 2005
1,133
865
I just want apple to open up Siri the way Alexa is. I can get into what "skills" I want, but for each of us they are unique. My family loves playing "Jeopardy" a daily quiz via Amazon Alexa based on the TV Show. I'd love to see that on HomePod with Siri. Sure its niche, but the problem is the lack of extensibility that Apple allows in the first place. There are skills for asking how to remove stains from clothing, skills for astronomy, skills for EVERYTHING on Amazon and on Siri we have so little.

I own two HomePods and like the sound quality but I'm not buying anymore, or replacing my fleet of Amazon Echo Dots until they introduce all the missing Airplay 2 features AND show decisive improvements to Siri. I know nothing happens overnight but it has to be more than the yearly drip and Apple has to acknowledge the problem and show they intend to do what it takes to catch up.
 

brsilb

macrumors newbie
Mar 3, 2018
7
1
I think you misunderstand me. I am Apple through and through and believe in them. I am not looking for an Amazon or Google clone. What has made them one of the most highly valued company in the world, is their innovation and their ability to make our lives easier. As I said I kept my Homepod because I believe it will improve. Also, the sound quality and integration with Apple Music is superb. My complaint is Siri needs a LOT of improvement, at least get it up to par with Siri on other devices.
 

Endorphine88

macrumors 6502
Feb 12, 2018
260
187
Philadelphia, PA
Definitely my favorite Alexa skill (and the only one that I miss in my bedroom, now that's she's been retired to the living room) is ambient sounds. I used to have her play rain sounds every night for 30 minutes before bed. You can technically still do that with HomePod through Airplay but it is not as seamless as Alexa.
I still prefer HomePod though. I know Siri will get her game up to par gradually.
 
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darthbane2k

macrumors 6502a
Oct 22, 2009
650
253
How do you send what’s app messages from the HomePod without it handing off to the iPhone?
[doublepost=1520062384][/doublepost]
Yes calendar events and being able to answer and make calls using voice commands are my top 2 wishes for features.
“Hey Siri send a WhatsApp message to
Joe bloggs” - she then asks what do I want to say. Just tried it again right now and it works from HomePod. Heck you can even send messages to specific WhatsApp groups
 

Shanghaichica

macrumors G4
Apr 8, 2013
11,966
8,662
UK
“Hey Siri send a WhatsApp message to
Joe bloggs” - she then asks what do I want to say. Just tried it again right now and it works from HomePod. Heck you can even send messages to specific WhatsApp groups
Oh it worked today. When I set up my HomePod last week and tried to send a message via what’s app it handed it off to my iPhone. However when I tried it just now it worked directly from the HomePod . Has the HomePod had a software update?
 

ipedro

macrumors 603
Original poster
Nov 30, 2004
5,267
6,062
Toronto, ON
Apple has updated the SiriKit API page to include HomePod.

649F0046-4807-4BCD-97FA-AA6C8C85BB46.jpeg


https://developer.apple.com/sirikit/

So, another way of asking the question posed by this thread is: which app types will be added to SiriKit this year at WWDC?

Existing SiriKit app types are likely to arrive first with new SiriKit types added alongside iOS since HomePod is now out and accounted for in Siri’s development.

Like AppleWatch in its first year, I expect HomePod to receive a major upgrade less than a year into its release.
 

BlankStar

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2004
689
512
Belgium
Upgrade, as in hardware upgrade? I don't see that happening fast. The speaker quality is awesome and it has the newest tech like Bluetooth 5.0 built-in.

If you mean a software update, I can only hope for iOS 12 to bring loads of new features to the HomePod, where my biggest wish is that it becomes usable in HomeKit-scenes... When I enter our house as the first one: start playing music, when everyone leaves: stop playing music. When I say "good night": all lights out, and ambient songs in the bedroom for 60 minutes. Stuff like that ;-)
 
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