Now, with the release of iOS 14.4 this week, it has finally arrived. The update is based on Apple’s Handoff system, which allows you to transfer tasks from one Apple device to another. This includes, for example, copying and pasting text from an iPad to a Mac or launching an email on your iPhone and ending it on a Mac.
For music playback, Handoff makes it easy to transfer audio from an iPhone to a HomePod speaker and vice versa. Unlike the original, larger HomePod, the newer and cheaper HomePod has Mini Apple’s U1 chip, which uses ultra-broadband technology to communicate with a nearby iPhone 11 or iPhone 12, which also has the U1.
With the new iOS 14.4 update released this week, these U1 chips are being used to enhance the Handoff experience between iPhones and HomePod Mini. As you approach the speaker while playing music on your iPhone, the phone emits a soft haptic feedback.
This gets faster as iPhone and HomePod Mini get closer to each other until a new interface appears on the iPhone, allowing you to deliver audio to the HomePod Mini.
The update should speed up the audio handoff experience between the HomePod Mini and compatible iPhones. Ultra-broadband technology is more accurate than Bluetooth, which should provide a smoother and more reliable Handoff experience. Handoff can also be used in this way to transfer songs, podcasts and other audio between the speaker and smartphone.
For example, when you leave home, you can transfer music from HomePod Mini to your iPhone by holding them close together. So when you return, you can transfer a call from iPhone to HomePod Mini. Since the HomePod mini now offers a feature that the original and more expensive HomePod misses, we expect the latter to be replaced soon by an upgraded model.
We suspect this is just the start of Apple’s journey into ultra-wideband (UWB) technology, and we look forward to seeing where it goes next – potentially with the rumored upcoming AirTags trackers.
Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility check, to see the other compatible products that work with Apple HomeKit enabled devices.
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