Of course, the HomePod isn’t even out yet. As such, the new firmware isn’t available via the Developer’s Portal. Instead, it’s only available to install by early HomePod testers — which, at this point, is basically just people who work at Apple.
Apple employees have been testing the smart speaker in their own homes for quite a while now, which has led to some HomePod devices being spotted in the wild around the Cupertino area. These employees are, presumably, testing the HomePod to help Apple work out any kinks before the speaker launches in early 2018.
While it is downloadable by the public through third-party platforms, the firmware update is basically useless for anyone without a HomePod. That hasn’t stopped enterprising developers from poring over the data contained within, however.
In July, Apple unwittingly released HomePod firmware to the public, which inadvertently revealed a plethora of details about the smart speaker, as well as features of the then-unannounced Apple TV 4K and iPhone X — such as its facial-based recognition system and its sensor notch.
Currently, it’s unclear whether the new firmware will reveal any other secrets or features of HomePod. It’s worth noting that it probably won’t reveal any secrets about other upcoming Apple products since no new iOS devices are on the horizon. In October, another firmware version of HomePod was seeded with no product spoilers.
HomePod was first unveiled in June at Apple’s WWDC ’17 event. It’s a Siri-based smart speaker that’s more music-oriented than other competitors, featuring a 7-tweeter array, a proprietary 4-inch upward-facing woofer, and Apple’s own A8 chip. That chipset will allow for advanced features like spatial awareness and smart acoustical tuning.
Apple originally planned to release the smart speaker in December, but in November the product’s launch was delayed until “early 2018.”
No new features or forward facing changes have been discovered in iOS 11.2.5 beta. It’s reasonable to assume this update includes security patches and under the hood fixes only. Beta testers can download it now as an over the air (OTA) update.
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