Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Timers, Reminders, and Alarms

Dr. Drang explored all the conceivable ways you can tell your Apple devices to notify you about something at a specific time, and it’s quite the mess. There are huge inconsistencies between devices, basic failures in Siri’s competence, and baffling shortcomings to nearly every approach.

One thing I wanted to draw attention to, though, was this observation:

The number of alerts that can be set was the starting point for the last post. People want multiple timers in their HomePods. That’s great, but Apple’s never had multiple timers in any iOS device, which is why I’ve always used reminders instead.

This is true. But, while I don’t think Drang is framing this as a rebuttal, per se, to critics who have pointed out that the HomePod supports only a single timer, I think it’s much more glaring on that device for a good reason: it’s an appliance. All smart speakers1 are designed to be placed on a table or a desk, and many will be used in or near the kitchen. If you have two or three different dishes on the go, you may want two or three different timers, and a smart speaker seems like it should be able to provide that. It would be nice — very nice, at that — if the iPhone supported multiple timers; it’s almost an expectation for the HomePod to. And, for what it’s worth, I think the Apple Watch also ought to do that by now.

  1. Apple can emphasize the audio quality all they like, but by putting Siri in the HomePod, they opened it up to direct comparison against the Google Home and Amazon Echo. ↩︎