Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that Introduces a simple but neat feature coming to HomePod. Apple invents a way to allow the HomePods in your Home to become HomePhones, hands free and simple. Well, at least in theory.
Sometimes it's the little simple features that have an impact on a consumer. For instance. Apple's patent presents the simple idea of allowing HomePod to accept incoming phone calls to be amplified in a room. You could be watching Apple TV+ content on your 8K TV when a phone call comes in. You've set your iPhone to have home calls shift to HomePod. The call comes in, you tell Siri to answer the call and viola you can begin speaking without holding your iPhone.
Technically, Apple states that to "add a secure communications link between a smart home device (HomePod) and a smartphone device (iPhone) can be used to relay audio for a telephone call from the smartphone device to the smart home device.
For example, if an incoming call is received on a smartphone device, the incoming call can be accepted via the smart home device. The speakers and microphone of the smart home device can then be used to perform the call, with the audio data for the call securely communicated between the smart home device and the smartphone device."
Apple's patent FIG. 2 below illustrates a home network environment including multiple smart home devices (HomePods); FIG. 3B illustrates a system that enables smart home device, or another secondary or peripheral device, to accept an incoming cellular audio call on behalf of a cellular enabled device, such as a smartphone; and FIG. 12 is a block diagram of a virtual assistant.
Apple's patent application number 20200314247 that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was filed back March 2020. For more details, check out Apple's patent here. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.