What we want from the next-gen Apple HomePod – a wishlist

Here's what the HomePod is missing and why we want it on board for number two

What we want from the next-gen HomePod
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The Apple HomePod has been in our lives for a few weeks now and, while it's not perfect, it is slotting into our smart home quite nicely.

But while the audio acoustics are tremendous, and the Siri smarts make HomeKit devices much easier to control, Apple's smart speaker still has plenty of flaws and room for improvement.

However, don't just take our word on that – here's our specific HomePod 2 wishlist, with the features we think are missing from the original, alongside some choice quotes from top tech reviewers to back us up.

A more open approach

What we want from the next-gen Apple HomePod

"HomePod can play your Spotify music, or your Pandora stream, or your favourite iHeartRadio station. If there was a way for the speaker to grimace as it did so, though, it would," said Slashgear's Chris Davies in his HomePod review. "If you want any other source you’re going to have to use AirPlay. That, while it works, just isn’t as elegant."

Apple wants Apple Music front and centre, we get that. But surely it doesn't need to be such a bully boy about it. Amazon lets you choose Spotify ahead of its own streaming platform, as does Google. So, while it's okay(ish) to use AirPlay for anything other than Apple Music, it does seem a bit petty to make you pick up your iPhone or iPad for the bulk of the controls.

A surround sound assault

By the time the next HomePod speaker lands, Apple should have got that all important AirPlay 2 update out of the door. But we'd like to see Apple properly taking on Sonos with an all-out multi-room speaker assault, out of the box, from the next HomePod.

"Using HomePod with Apple TV is definitely feasible, but there are some drawbacks that explain why Apple isn’t promoting it as a TV speaker necessarily," explains 9to5Mac's Benjamin Mayo. "For a start, the lack of wired inputs means you can only use HomePod with Apple TV."

We'd love to see a range of different sized smart speakers on offer from Apple, which can all sync up with each other and offer not only dual stereo, but surround sound setups as well. If Sonos can do it…

A more visible Siri

What we want from the next-gen Apple HomePod

If you have your HomePod on a shelf above your eye level, the chances are you'll never even notice that the shiny bit on the top is actually a touch panel – and it's also where the physical form of Siri lives.

"Sometimes it heard me even when I thought it didn’t, because the screen on top is difficult to see from distance, prompting Siri to follow up with an 'uh huh?' when I remained silent," wrote Samuel Gibbs at The Guardian.

Like Sam, we'd prefer it if Apple's digital assistant – or at least the swirly colour representation of her – was a lot more visible. Amazon's Echo range has a clear blue ring that shows up when Alexa is called to action and the angled front of the Google Home makes it super clear to see that the Assistant is working.

Siri to have upped her game

"Here is the current state of Siri on the HomePod: it cannot set two timers at once," despaired Nilay Patel on the Verge. 'You can’t ask Siri to look up a recipe. You can’t ask Siri to make a phone call. Siri also can’t compete with the huge array of Alexa skills, or Google Assistant’s ability to answer a vast variety of questions. You can’t ask Siri to play something on an Apple TV, as both Google and Amazon’s assistants can do with their respective TV devices…"

You get the idea.

Siri is just not smart enough on the HomePod. It's obvious that Apple has gone speaker first and smart second with this product. That's evident from the marketing material it's putting out and it's also in-your-face noticeable when spending time with it.

With Alexa and Google's Assistant getting smarter every day, Siri's going to have to seriously up her game next time around.

More family friendly

What we want from the next-gen Apple HomePod

Chances are, you live with other people. Chances are, those people are your family or your friends. And chances are, those people will have a right old laugh at your expense if they could. They'd have every opportunity using the current HomePod setup.

"Siri on the HomePod can't identify users by their voices, as it already does on the iPhone," explains Chris Velazco on Engadget. "Right now, anyone could ask my HomePod to play my unread text messages or send a text to a contact, and as long as my phone was nearby, Siri would comply without hesitation. I don't have anything to hide, but the principle still stands: If my phone can recognise my voice, the HomePod should be able to as well."

Come on Apple, if Google can differentiate between different voices for different users, then surely you can too?

A less messy bottom

#Ringgate. Oh dear. While it's emerged that Sonos speakers may also leave white marks on wooden furniture, it's always going to be Apple that's associated with the problem. The price of fame, we guess.

"For us the mark hasn't disappeared and we have had to sand and then re-oil our worktop," exclaimed Stuart Miles, over on Pocket-lint. "It's certainly something to be careful of, especially if you're about to put it down on that rather nice worktop or quality piece of furniture."

So it goes without saying we want to the next-gen HomePod to be more respectful of wood.


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