Apple earlier this week released its new 14.3 software for the HomePod and HomePod mini smart speakers. Now comes word about the HomePod 14.4 beta. A beta tester says the new beta includes new HomePod mini functionality that takes advantage of the U1 ultra wideband chip included in the device.
When it debuted the HomePod mini earlier this year, Apple said that an update to be released “later this year” would bring visual, audible, and haptic effects when sound transfers from one device to the other. Personalized listening suggestions will also automatically appear on the iPhone when it is next to HomePod mini, and instant controls are available without having to unlock the iPhone.
Apple does not make the HomePod beta software available to developers as they do with iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS software. Instead, it provides the beta software to a limited number of carefully selected testers. One of those testers shared the details on Reddit.
The tester says that when an iPhone gets near the HomePod mini, it begins a soft haptic touch rhythm that begins speeding up as the iPhone gets closer until finally, the song transfer interface opens to allow you to transfer a song between the iPhone and the HomePod mini.
Starts the process when you’re like… 12” away from the HomePod? When it works correctly. First beta is pretty buggy and may not be the best one to explain
Basically when your phone gets 12” away from the HomePod the banner shows and any minuscule phone movements result in haptic feedback which gets stronger as you move towards the HomePod. If you move away it gets weaker, get too far away and it stops and the banner goes away.
Get closer and closer and the haptics will get stronger until it’s so close that you must purposely be doing it and want to engage in handoff, at which point the banner expands into the full platter shown in the last photo.
The new functionality is designed to make handoff between the HomePod mini and an iPhone 11 or iPhone 12 quicker and more reliable.