During the unveiling of HomePod mini at Tuesday’s Apple event, Apple introduced an upcoming new feature called Intercom that works across all Apple devices with the exception, it would seem, of Mac.
Intercom will enable family members to communicate with each other wherever they are in the home, with the ability to send and receive spoken messages via HomePod speakers. If a family member is in the garden or away from home, they can still use Intercom on their iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and even CarPlay. Apple explains:
A new Intercom feature offers a quick and easy way for family members to connect with each other at home. One person can send an Intercom message from one HomePod to another — whether in a different room, a specific zone, or multiple rooms throughout the home — and their voice will automatically play on the designated HomePod speaker. Intercom works with iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, and CarPlay, so everyone in the household can get Intercom notifications and send Intercom messages from the backyard or on their way home.
In the latest HomePod beta software, the setup process explains that users can say “Hey Siri, Intercom,” followed by their message, and then choose which HomePods and/or personal devices the message should be sent to. Other options include “Hey Siri, tell everyone,” and “Hey Siri, reply…” to respond to a message.
On personal devices, Intercom messages appear as notifications with the option to listen to the audio message. Users can also choose when Intercom notifications are delivered to their iPhone (Never / When I’m Home / Anywhere), and can select who can use Intercom via the Home app if they have remote access. Apple is also including an accessibility option that transcribes spoken messages on personal devices.
The Intercom feature will arrive in upcoming software updates, which are likely to roll out in step with the launch of HomePod mini on November 16.