Yesterday Apple announced new discounts for the HomePod on the backdrop of a possible refresh. While the refresh is likely to be a small update, brand new Apple patents today published by the US Patent and Trademark Office reveal how Apple is working on a future HomePod with a camera and Face ID.
Patently Apple notes that a brand new patent shows how a future HomePod will have a “camera system that supports gaze controls and longer-range Face ID.” Alongside a built-in camera, the patent also notes how a camera accessory like a 3rd party webcam could connect to the HomePod and act as its eyes.
One example the patent shows of how this could be implemented is if a user requests Siri to turn on a lamp, the cameras would capture which lamp the user is looking at and turn that specific lamp on. From the sounds of the patent, the camera would be mobilized and have the ability to shift its viewpoint to match the directional sound of the users’ voice.
The HomePod could also be connected to multiple cameras around a room that would work together to track the user and their “gaze.” The patent also references Face ID and more specifically the use of a TrueDepth camera system
The patent stops short of expanding on how Face ID could be used, but for a device like HomePod, having Face ID opens up a lot of doors. For example, it could be used to personalize certain requests for certain members in the family and overall multi-person support.
Read Patently Apple’s full report here.