Upcoming HomePod 14.4 Software Update to Add New HomePod Mini U1 Features
The iOS 14.4 beta that was introduced today didn’t appear to include any new features, but an accompanying HomePod 14.4 beta will introduce new HomePod mini functionality that takes advantage of the U1 ultra wideband chip in the device.
The HomePod beta software is not made available to developers like iOS and macOS software and is instead provided to a limited number of Apple-selected testers. One of those testers shared the details on Reddit, along with screenshots, which were highlighted on the MacRumors forums.
When the HomePod mini launched, Apple said that an update “later this year” would bring visual, audible, and haptic effects when songs are transferred from one device to another. Personalized listening suggestions are also designed to appear on the iPhone when next to the HomePod mini, complete with instant controls that are available without having to unlock the iPhone.
According to the Redditor, when an iPhone is near the HomePod mini, it begins a soft haptic touch rhythm that gets faster and faster as the iPhone gets closer until the interface to transfer a song between the HomePod mini and the iPhone opens.
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.
This functionality will make handoff quicker and more reliable on a HomePod mini and an iPhone 11 or iPhone 12, all of which are equipped with U1 chips that let the devices better understand where they are in relation to one another.