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Apple’s HomePod might be hiding a killer secret feature

Published Jul 28th, 2017 2:30PM EDT
homepod display
Image: Apple

Back in June, Apple did what many analysts and insiders expected it to do by taking the stage at WWDC and announcing the upcoming release of a smart speaker to compete with Amazon’s Echo and Google Home. It’s called the HomePod, and when it was first shown off, a huge emphasis was placed on its musical prowess. Now, thanks to some seriously impressive code sniffing by one dedicated developer, we might have just been treated to a secret HomePod feature that Apple hasn’t yet revealed: a built-in display. 

Steven Troughton-Smith, an app developer with a keen eye, shared his discovery of what appears to be the control framework for an LED matrix display in the HomePod OS. While digging into the functionality of the built-in “+” and “-” controls on the HomePod itself, Troughton-Smith’s discovery points to an LED grid of sorts, complete with RGB capability which could potentially be used as a rudimentary display of sorts.

Following on the odd discovery, others chimed in with their own interpretations of what the grid might look like, as well as what it could be used for.

A basic clock, the current temperature, or even simple weather readings would likely be easily doable on such a grid, especially if it’s capable of full RGB color. That being said, it’s a bit odd that Apple wouldn’t have chosen to show off this functionality during the HomePod’s initial debut, especially when they held a captive audience of countless developers and potential customers.

However, if Apple wanted to ramp up the hype for the HomePod’s actual release, which is expected in December, perhaps the decision was made to hold back on some of the included features in order to prompt a new wave of attention in the weeks leading up to its retail availability.