Apple News

Apple Releases 14.1 Software for HomePod With Intercom and HomePod Mini Support

Alongside iOS and iPadOS 14.1, Apple today released new 14.1 software for the HomePod, which includes a number of new updates such as support for the Intercom feature that allows you to speak to anyone in the home on iPhone, iPad, ‌HomePod‌, and more.

The update also introduces support for the HomePod mini that’s launching in November and it adds new Siri features. ‌Siri‌ is able to stop alarms, timers, and media across ‌HomePod‌ speakers, and web search requests from ‌HomePod‌ can be sent from ‌HomePod‌ to the ‌iPhone‌.

There’s also an option to add music to alarms to wake up to a favorite song or playlist from Apple Music, and there are multiple reliability improvements.

Software version 14.1 includes support for ‌HomePod mini‌ and new ‌Siri‌ and Intercom features. This update also includes bug fixes and improvements.

‌HomePod mini‌
– Setup and automatically transfer your Apple ID, ‌Apple Music‌, ‌Siri‌ and Wi-Fi settings to ‌HomePod mini‌

– ‌Siri‌ suggestions appear in Maps when you ask ‌HomePod‌ for information about a location
– Web search requests to ‌HomePod‌ can be sent from ‌HomePod‌ to your ‌iPhone‌
– ‌Siri‌ can now stop alarms, timers, and media across ‌HomePod‌ speakers
– Voice recognition support for Podcasts for multiple users in the home

– Ask ‌HomePod‌ to make announcements to other ‌HomePod‌ speakers throughout your home
– Intercom to all ‌HomePod‌ speakers
– Intercom to a ‌HomePod‌ in a specific room or zone

Other improvements and fixes
– Add music to your alarms and wake up to your personal song, playlist, or radio station from ‌Apple Music‌
– Fixes an issue where stereo pairs can sometimes play out of sync
– Improves reliability when using ‌Siri‌ to control multiple speakers
– Optimizes ‌Siri‌ performance

‌‌HomePod‌‌‌ software is installed automatically on the ‌‌‌HomePod‌‌‌, but the ‌‌‌HomePod‌‌‌ can also be manually updated by following the instructions in our ‌‌HomePod‌‌ update how to.


Apple’s next-gen AirPods to arrive in 2021 with a possible new high-end Form Factor


Apple is planning an AirPods update in 2021. More specifically they’re working on two new models: a third-generation entry-level AirPods and second-gen AirPods Pro, according to Bloomberg sources.


The design of the updated entry-level AirPods will be similar to the current AirPods Pro, gaining a shorter stem and replaceable ear tips. Apple is also looking to improve battery life. That model however will not have higher-end AirPods Pro features like noise-cancellation.


For the new AirPods Pro, Apple is aiming to make the earbuds more compact by eliminating the short stem that currently sticks out from the bottom. A design in testing has a more rounded shape that fills more of a user’s a ear — similar to the latest designs from Samsung Electronics Co., Inc. and Google.


However, an Apple spokeswoman told Bloomberg that integrating noise-cancellation, wireless antennas and microphones into a smaller AirPods Pro casing has proved challenging during development, which could result in a less ambitious design when the product is finalized.


Apple is still planning to announce high-end, noise-canceling over-ear headphones. The device has faced several development challenges over the past two years and has been delayed multiple times.


The headphones were due to go into production weeks ago, but that was pushed back due to problems with the headband, a person familiar with the matter said. That part was deemed too tight in some testing.


For more, read the full Bloomberg report titled “Apple Developing Smaller AirPods Pro, Revamped Entry-Level Model,” on their technology home page today.


10.2  Supply Chain News & Rumors




Dow Jones Plunges 700 Points as Cases of Coronavirus Surge; Apple Stock Called a Buy but Still Sinks

The stock market once again cares about the coronavirus pandemic as cases surge across the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. recorded a record number of confirmed cases on Friday, with many states driving the increase. On top of the COVID-19 surge, a stimulus bill getting signed before the election is looking less likely as the days tick away without an agreement. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was down about 2.4% at 11:45 a.m. EDT on Monday.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was down less than the market on Monday following some analyst optimism regarding the iPhone 12 and the company’s vast services business. Other stocks in the Dow exposed to a worsening pandemic didn’t fare as well.

A medical worker standing near a man in a car.

Image source: Getty Images.

Apple tapped to outperform

Expectations of strong demand for non-iPhone products, an acceleration of the services segment, and a big upgrade cycle for the iPhone 12 have led analysts at Evercore to put Apple stock on its “tactical outperform” list. Evercore also maintained its outperform rating and its $135 price target.

Evercore sees the potential for Apple’s fiscal 2021 results to outpace analyst expectations, driven by a higher average selling price for iPhones, new service offerings, and solid sales of Macs and iPads. The iPhone 12 family raises the base price from the iPhone 11 family, although a slightly cheaper iPhone 12 Mini will become an option in November.

Evercore does concede that results for the next couple of quarters may not impress. For the quarter ending in September, a lack of new iPhone models and the availability of the budget-priced iPhone SE could drag down iPhone sales. For the quarter ending in December, Evercore is worried about Apple’s gross margins.

The company is launching new iPhones into a U.S. economy that has been both ravaged by the pandemic and propped up by the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed in March. That stimulus bill, which sent checks to Americans and added a weekly $600 supplement to unemployment payments, almost certainly contributed to Apple’s…


Apple’s next-gen AirPods Pro might not have their iconic stem

Apple might redesign its wireless AirPods Pro earbuds next year to make them smaller and possibly eliminate the iconic straw-like stem at the bottom, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. It’s also reportedly redesigning the standard AirPods model to look more like the current AirPods Pro, with a shorter stem and replaceable ear tips.

Apple AirPods Pro might eliminate to review

Apple AirPods Pro might eliminate to review

The AirPods Pro white stem design is instantly identifiable and has been copied by other brands including OnePlus and Huawei. However, Apple is reportedly testing a redesign with a more rounded, ear-conforming shape the ditches it altogether — meaning they could look more like the wireless earbuds from Samsung or Google. All that said, though, the company has found it a challenge to fit the electronics into a smaller AirPods Pro body, according to Gurman, so the final model could be less ambitious than originally planned.


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Meanwhile, Apple is making the updated entry-level AirPods look more like the current AirPods Pro, meaning they’ll have replaceable ear tips and a shorter stem. They’d also gain battery life, but would not come with AirPods Pro features like active noise cancellation. This model could be launched in the first half of 2021.

Apple is also supposedly working on new wireless chips for both models, and is still planning to announce high-end, noise-canceling over-ear headphones next year, as rumored. Those were already supposed to have gone into production, but were reportedly pushed back to a headband that was too tight in some tests.

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Office for iPad now has mouse and trackpad support

Microsoft is bringing mouse and trackpad support to its Office for iPad apps today. The software maker promised it would update its Office iPadOS apps earlier this year, and the updates are now live in the App Store for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Office for iPad now lets you use the built-in trackpad on Apple’s Magic Keyboard to navigate around text, photos, and other objects in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The cursor is context aware, like other apps that have taken advantage of the Magic Keyboard, so you can highlight text in Word, resize images and charts in PowerPoint, and select multiple cells in Excel. It’s very similar to using Office on a PC or Mac.

Office for iPad cursor support.
Image: Microsoft

Alongside the mouse and trackpad support, Microsoft is also adding more Fluent UI to its Office for iPad apps. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint all have refreshed start screens and a new ribbon of feature menus.

Microsoft is also planning to bring multiple document support to Excel, better contextual menus, and offline file support for cloud files in the coming months. This latest mouse and keyboard support is starting to roll out today and “should reach all users within a couple weeks.”