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The Apple HomePod replace brings intercom and different new options

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Apple Starting today, HomePod owners can use the newly announced Intercom feature to send messages between their HomePod smart speakers. The feature, available through a software update, brings these and several other new features to Apple's smart speakers, including the features that were unveiled at the Apple event last week where the company used its HomePod mini for Introduced $ 99.

Of which intercom is the most notable update as it helps the HomePod keep up with competing smart speakers like those from Apple and Google that have offered similar broadcast messaging systems for years.

In Apple's case, however, Intercom doesn't just send a user's voice message – like "Dinner is ready!" or "time to go!" – through the family's HomePod speakers. It's also said to work across Apple's device ecosystem, adding support for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and even AirPods and CarPlay.

This could be a competitive advantage for the HomePod, especially because Amazon – which leads the US market with its affordable Echo devices – no longer has its own smartphone business.

However, according to Apple, expanded intercom support for other devices isn't rolling out today. Instead, it will be available through more software updates later this year.

To use intercom, HomePod owners with multiple devices can say:

"Hey Siri, intercom, did anyone see my glasses?"

"Hey Siri, tell everyone dinner is ready."

"Hey Siri, intercom in the kitchen, has the game started?"

And to respond, users can say something like "Hey Siri, answer yes".

In addition to the new support for Intercom, the software update offers deeper integration with Apple Maps and iPhone, the ability to set and stop timers and alarms from any HomePod, the ability to continue listening to a podcast with multi-user support, and much more.

With deeper integration, HomePod owners can now ask Siri for information about traffic conditions as well as nearby restaurants and businesses. A Siri suggestion will then automatically appear in Maps on your iPhone so the route is available once you're in the car.

HomePod owners can now also ask Siri to search the internet, which will then send the results to the iPhone.

Two more new features will be available later this year, including the ability to connect a HomePod (or more) to Apple TV 4K for stereo, 5.1, and 7.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos for movies, TVs, games, and more.

With the other upcoming feature called "Personal Update", you can ask Siri what my update is in a nutshell or "Play my update" for all of the info you need to start your day including news, weather, calendar events and Memories .

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Katherine Clark