How to control HomePod from Mac or iOS

The HomePod doesn’t behave like most other Apple devices. Unlike the Apple Watch, there’s no dedicated app. It supports AirPlay, so it shows up in the list of audio sources—but it’s also remote-controllable like an Apple TV. And to configure it, you don’t visit the Settings app, but the Home app. Here’s a quick guide to where and how you can control the HomePod from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

Controlling from Control Center in iOS

Soon after I got home with my HomePod, I found myself sitting on my couch while the HomePod played music from a few feet away. I realized that while I could call out a command to make the HomePod slightly louder, that would make a noise and disturb everyone else in the living room. I had my iPad with me; surely I could adjust the HomePod’s volume with that?

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iOS

Siri: What Apple needs to do to improve its voice-activated digital assistant

The HomePod is coming Friday, and with it, even more attention is being paid to Siri, Apple’s voice assistant that serves as its primary interface. The early HomePod reviews are in, and most of them suggest the device is an excellent speaker that’s hampered by Siri’s limitations.

homepod siri interact Apple

I haven’t used a HomePod yet, so I can’t speak to that, but as someone with a constellation of Apple devices, it does seem to me that Siri could stand to use some improvement. (Couldn’t we all?) So let’s leave the details of the HomePod aside for the moment and think bigger. Where does Siri need to go from here?

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4 tidbits we learned from Apple’s record quarterly results

Three months ago, Apple boldly asserted that the holiday quarter of 2017, its first financial quarter of this fiscal year, would be the company’s biggest in history. They weren’t wrong. In fact, Apple’s holiday quarter generated $88.3 billion in revenue, blowing past even the high side of Apple’s estimates.

By just about any way you measure it, this was a great quarter for Apple. But of course, the devil’s in the details, whether it’s line items in the corporate reports or in tidbits revealed during the company’s regular phone call with analysts. So here’s a look at four tidbits we learned about Apple’s big quarter.

The long and short of it

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iOS

Is it the end of the line for the ‘i’ at Apple? Analyzing Apple’s naming scheme

The discovery that in iOS 11.3 Apple is renaming the iBooks app to “Books” seemed... not particularly revelatory. We’ve all read about how Apple’s been slowly stripping away the lower-case-i prefix from older products. New products and services are a generic word preceded with the word “Apple,” as in Apple TV and Apple Watch. This is the conventional wisdom. But is it true?

No, kill ‘i’

Apple’s made no pronouncements itself about it. Yes, it seems the “i” prefix introduced with the iMac 20 years ago has fallen out of favor. (I’m reminded of the time when Steve Jobs said that the “power” prefix of the PowerBook and Power Mac had gotten tired.) And yet that same prefix continues to appear in front of some of Apple’s most popular products and platforms! Meanwhile, Apple has announced new hardware—like AirPods and the HomePod—with absolutely no sign of either the letter “i” or the Apple prefix.

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What Apple must do to establish its new video service

It’s clear that Apple is building a video service. That much was obvious the moment it hired veteran entertainment executives Zack van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht. But you can’t flip a switch and create a streaming service—not even if you’re Apple. (You could buy one, but Apple has apparently chosen to build, not buy, at least for now.)

What has to happen between now and the day we all sit down and watch the first episode of van Amburg and Erlicht’s first major acquisition to play through our Apple TVs or on our iPads and iPhones?

Make the deals

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Is CES a trouble spot for Apple?

The reports are in from the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, and they’re not good if you’re an Apple watcher: The days of CES being a show full of products trumpeting their connections to the App Store are over. This year, it’s all about smart assistants—and that means Alexa and the Google Assistant, not Siri. It’s bad news for Apple—or is it?

I trust the trained eyes of CES observers. Both analyst Ben Bajarin and New York Times tech writer Brian Chen reported the same thing.

I am, however, a little skeptical about how the story has been framed, especially in that it needs to depict a fall from grace of Apple while Google and Amazon are ascendant. That’s not quite what’s going on, but it is more dramatic to rhapsodize about the years where “Apple cast a long shadow over” CES, as Chen wrote, or how “Apple’s dominance loomed over the show,” as Bajarin wrote.

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What the iPhone, iPad, and iOS need in 2018

2017 was a pretty great year for iOS. A whole lot of my wish-list items for iPhone and iPad got checked off. And yet, like a kid who got a bike under the tree and still immediately begins assembling a birthday wish list, it’s my job as a columnist to immediately ask Apple what it’s done for iOS lately. Ungrateful, I know, but life goes on: Here’s what I hope to see from Apple in the world of iOS in 2018.

More iPhones

The iPhone X was the banner product of 2017, but it’s still just a first take on a whole new generation of iPhone hardware. In 2018 I’d like to see an upgrade to the iPhone X, sure—ideally retaining the iPhone X name, because who wants to buy the iPhone XI? But I’d also like to see an iPhone X Plus, with a huge OLED screen. Personally, the iPhone X is about as much iPhone as I want to carry in my hand or pocket, but I know a bunch of iPhone Plus users who would love to use a larger iPhone X.

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