In addition to iPadOS 15, iOS 15 and watchOS 15, Apple also published updates for two other device lines on Monday evening. The Smartspeakers HomePod and HomePod mini received the new firmware HomePod OS 15, Apple TV HD and the two versions of the Apple TV 4K (2017 and 2021) access to the final version of tvOS 15.
What’s new in HomePod OS 15
Compared to the new features for iPad and iPhone as well as Apple Watch, the added features are relatively small. They are welcome anyway. In the future, the HomePod mini will be able to play back audio from an Apple TV 4K device as a stereo pair. The bass level can be reduced “so as not to disturb the neighbors”. If a HomePod mini is running nearby, a menu with control options automatically appears on the iPhone lockscreen. Siri can be used to switch on Apple TV devices via HomePod, start films and control playback.
Siri’s voice can automatically adapt to the ambient volume or the volume of user commands. HomePod OS 15 brings support for new HomeKit devices with Siri that will be available in the future – these will forward voice input to the smart speakers. Siri can now also switch devices at certain times (“turn off the lights in 10 minutes”) and the HomePod now detects when a parcel is brought by a parcel when using Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video camera support. As mentioned, Apple is offering the HomePod update – and commendably – not only for the HomePod mini, but also for the HomePod, which is no longer in the program.
tvOS 15 with a better overview and cinema feeling
tVOS 15 will in future come with “Shared with You”, as is also known from iOS 15. In the new section you can see content that the user has been suggested by the news app. “Hey Siri” is now starting shows on Apple TV + and support for said stereo pairs from HomePod mini devices is included (including surround; see above, with HomePod OS 15). AirPods Pro and AirPods Max paired with an Apple TV now deliver spatial audio sound.
HomeKit Secure video cameras can now be displayed on Apple TV devices with more image sources at the same time. The update also prepares the devices for Apple’s “watch together” service SharePlay – this has, however, been suspended for the time being. This allows you to watch series together via FaceTime and listen to music, which tvOS 15 then also plays. Apple also has a new recommendation engine for shared content on board. In addition to tvOS 15, Apple has also published an 8.4.6 update for Apple TV 3 devices; what innovations it would initially remain open.