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Commentary Wearable Tech

HomePod has one thing AirPods need next

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

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

Apple

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.

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

Apple

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.

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