How to turn off HomePod’s status lights altogether

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Due to its lack of screen, HomePod’s means of expressing itself are limited to the pulsating, colorful dot on its slick top surface. Design and implementation of the expressive light undoubtedly make for a masterclass in giving an inanimate speaker an air of personality.

While we do have a detailed breakdown of which of HomePod’s lights exactly mean what, what we have not done yet is call attention to the fact that the lights can also be shut down entirely – and no, I’m not talking about pulling the plug from the power outlet…. Read the rest of this post here

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How to rename the room your HomePod’s in

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As part of the Automatic Setup for HomePod, you select the room the speaker’s in by choosing from a pre-populated list of room names like “Living Room”, ”Bedroom”, ”Kitchen” and so forth…. Read the rest of this post here

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This week on AI: Apple headphone struggles, cheaper HomePods, labor rights & more

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Apple could make a further push into audio products later this year, assuming rumors and development pan out. It meanwhile turns out the company has plenty of work to do in cleaning up abuses in its supply chain.
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Today only: Save 20% on Apple TV 4Ks, HomePods, Beats headphones and more with eBay coupon

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Time is running out to save 20% on top of already reduced prices on nearly everything at eBay (up to $ 100 off). This offer is valid on Apple’s brand-new HomePod, the popular Apple TV 4K, MacBook Pros and more. Offer ends at 8 p.m. Pacific tonight.
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3 Ways You Can Enhance Your HomePod’s Privacy

Apple’s newly launched HomePod is about as close as the market is to a truly private smart home speaker. The Cupertino tech giant is a big believer in protecting consumer privacy, and its devices show that — particularly when you compare Apple’s policies to its rivals.

Despite that, for the especially privacy-conscious, there are times when even Apple’s secure devices fall a bit short. Luckily, in the case of HomePod, there are a few things you can do to make the smart speaker even more private than it already is. Use the Right Arrow to Browse 3 Ways You Can Make HomePod More Private.

3 Learn How to Mute the Microphones

HomePod differs from other smart home speakers in a couple of key ways when it comes to privacy.

For one, HomePod keeps any voice information local to the device — it doesn’t transmit data via the internet until a user says “Hey, Siri.” The query that comes after is then encrypted and anonymized.

But if that isn’t enough, you can actually completely disable whether HomePod is actively listening for “Hey Siri.” This is handy in lieu of a physical mute button (which other smart speakers have). Here’s how.

  1. Launch the Home app on your connected iOS device.
  2. Tap Rooms and find the Room where your HomePod is located.
  3. Long-press or press firmly on your HomePod device.
  4. Tap Details.
  5. You’ll see Listen for Hey Siri. Toggle this Off.
  6. Alternatively, you can just say: “Hey Siri, stop listening.”

To turn “Hey Siri” listening back on, just follow the above steps in reverse. Or tap the top of HomePod and say “Hey Siri, start listening.”

Apple doesn’t explicitly state whether this mutes the microphone entirely, but since voice command data is only ever transferred after “Hey Siri” is said, we can assume that any ambient noise is kept local to HomePod, anyway.

2 Make Sure No One Else Streams via AirPlay

HomePod owners who subscribe to third-party streaming services have one option to play their music: AirPlay.

The functionality is a bit more limited, but it is a working solution. Unfortunately, because of the way AirPlay works, it can provide opportunities to intrude on your privacy.

Basically, by default, anyone can stream audio to your HomePod using AirPlay. This is problematic if you live in an apartment, a dorm, or close generally in close proximity to others. Luckily, you can tighten up HomePod’s AirPlay settings fairly easily.

  1. Launch the Home app on your connected iOS device.
  2. Tap on the arrow icon in the upper-left corner.
  3. Tap Home Settings, and then your own Home.
  4. Under Speakers > Allow Speaker Access, you can tweak the security settings to stop drive-by streamers.
  5. By default, it’s set to Everyone — but you can change that to one of the following.
  • Selecting Anyone On the Same Network restricts HomePod use to devices on your own Wi-Fi network.
  • Only People Sharing This Home restricts use to users who you’ve explicitly invited to have access to your Home.
  • Lastly, you can simply select Require Password. Input a password and users will need to enter it to stream via AirPlay.

1 Keep People from Snooping on Your Messages

HomePod, once it’s set up, is an all-access platform. Anyone in your home can just say “Hey Siri” and use the device.

That’s because HomePod currently lacks any sort of voice-recognition for individual users. That’s okay for ease of use, but it does present a privacy issue for primary users with connected iOS devices.

If you’re the primary user with a connected iOS device, anyone in your home can currently just ask Siri on HomePod to add or edit your reminders and notes, or even read and reply to your private text messages. Here’s how to stop it.

  1. Launch the Home app on your connected iOS device.
  2. Tap the arrow icon in the upper-left corner.
  3. Tap your own profile under People.
  4. Toggle Personal Requests off.

Just follow the steps in reverse to toggle Personal Requests back on.

It’s worth noting that this will limit some Siri-based functionality and hamper some of HomePod’s usefulness as a smart home hub. But if you’re in a shared home or you simply don’t want people snooping, it’s worth disabling until Apple fields another solution.

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How Apple could fix HomePod’s white ring problem

One of the least welcome aspects of the HomePod smart speaker is its propensity for leaving unsightly white rings on your tables, due to an interaction between the silicone used in the device and the wood. According to one industrial designer, however, the problem could be solved by Apple without too much cost — although […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

Cult of Mac

Design Experts Claim the HomePod’s White Ring Issue Can Be Rectified Easily

Much has been said about the HomePod’s white ring issue on certain wooden surfaces. But some industrial design experts believe that the issue shouldn’t be hard to solve. Continue reading
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Industrial Design Experts Say HomePod’s White Ring Issue ‘Shouldn’t Be Too Hard to Fix’ for Apple

Last week, Apple confirmed that the HomePod can potentially leave white rings on the surface of wooden furniture with oil or wax finishes. In an effort to help users prevent seeing these rings appear on their own furniture, Apple shared a support document on “Where to place HomePod,” detailing how the interaction between the HomePod’s vibration-dampening silicone base and a wooden surface has the chance to result in a white ring.

Business Insider recently spoke with a few industrial design experts who believe that the problem “shouldn’t be too hard to fix” for Apple.” Gregor Berkowitz, a product development consultant for numerous consumer electronics brands, expects Apple to “re-tool” its HomePod manufacturing process to address the issue with the silicone base, which could take between two to six weeks. Although the fix could take several weeks, the experts said it’s “likely not very costly” for Apple.

Image via Wirecutter

Senior industrial designer at Y Studios, Cesar Viramontes, referred to the white rings issue as something customers will “probably forget about” in the next few months.

Apple may need to “re-tool” the manufacturing process since silicone is manufactured using a different process than the other kinds of elastomer,” said Berkowitz. If that’s necessary, the process could take anywhere from two weeks to six weeks, he noted.

“It’s an issue, but I think it’s probably going to be one that’ll be corrected in the next round of manufacturing,” said Y Studios’ Viramontes. “I think it will be a minor issue, and people will probably forget about it in the next couple of months when it goes away.”

While the experts see a quick fix for the issue coming from Apple, all were surprised it happened in the first place. Product design expert Ignazio Moresco explained that more is expected from Apple’s well-known attention to detail, and the company “should have caught the issue if they followed a rigorous QA process.” The white marks aren’t an Apple-specific problem, but have appeared with other speakers — like Sonos One — that have similar silicone bases.

Berkowitz believes the white rings could be a result of Apple’s “inexperience” with making stationary speakers, in contrast to the company’s familiarity with making mobile products like the iPhone and MacBook.

“This is sitting on a bookshelf. Is it going to work? Or are there going to be problems? A traditional consumer product company or a speaker company or a traditional Hi-Fi company is going to worry about that and think about those problems and have experience with it,” Berkowitz said. “This shouldn’t be new for Apple but it is.”

“They didn’t test the product enough and in the right variety of circumstances, especially considering that a wood surface is a very likely support for the product,” said Ignazio Moresco, a product design expert who has worked at frog design, Microsoft and Ericsson.

For those who have discovered rings on their furniture, Apple said that these marks “will often go away after several days” once HomePod is removed from the wooden surface. Users can hasten this process by wiping the surface gently with a damp or dry cloth. Still, the company explained that if anyone is concerned about these marks, it recommends “placing your HomePod on a different surface.”

Accessory makers are already creating products to act as a fix for the situation, including new leather coasters for HomePod from Pad & Quill. The $19.95 coasters are advertised as letting users place their HomePod on the wooden surfaces that have the potential to be marked by HomePod, without having to worry about the appearance of such marks.

Related Roundup: HomePod
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MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories

This week’s top stories: HomePod’s ‘ring’ problem, Apple Watch helps save a life, Facebook’s spyware on iOS, more

In this week’s top stories: Another pesky text bug on iOS and macOS, more thoughts on the HomePod, Apple Watch helps save yet another life, and more. Read on for all of this week’s top stories..