HomePod has one thing AirPods need next

Just take the HomePod's controls and graft them on the AirPods, please.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein

AirPods lack volume control...they shouldn't.


Apple's Siri-connected speaker, the HomePod, is arriving Feb. 9, and details on how it works have emerged this week. Whether or not you find the idea of Apple's take on the smart speaker appealing, its control scheme shows a lot of promise... for AirPods.

Here are the basic controls. It's not a big shock: There's a short language of taps and button presses and holds that handle track skipping, Siri and volume.


HomePod's control system is, basically, what I want on AirPods.


Volume is the key part. The first-gen AirPods have some basic tap-based controls, but they're a far cry from the helpful in-line remote of the wired EarPods that come with iPhones. AirPods can play and pause, invoke Siri, and skip tracks, but not all at the same time: you have to choose what each AirPod does when double-tapped, and that's it.

AirPods are great, and incredibly convenient. But they'd be even more useful with a better set of quick-access controls.

What I want (and what I think many people want) is to restore the full set of in-line controls: volume, play/pause, Siri, and track skipping. Maybe a new pair of AirPods would need touch zones or little micro-buttons for this. Or maybe a firmware update could enable more advanced tap commands.

Either way, as far as future AirPod connectivity goes, I want what the HomePod's having.