Update 3/22: Tyler Ellis, an astronomy graduate student working with Tabetha Boyajian, updated Gizmodo via email this weekend to let us know that the follow-up response has so far been “pretty extensive.” For photometry (counting light particles being emitted in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum) observers at the Los Cumbres Global Observatory and the KELT planet hunting network are viewing the star in optical, while the SWIFT ultraviolet space telescope, the Subaru telescope, and the Large Binocular Telescope are studying its infrared glow. Other collaborators are doing spectroscopy, trying to figure out which areas of the spectrum, exactly, are dimming. Still others are attempting to measure the polarization of light emitted by Tabby’s star, which can help determine whether the dimming is caused by something in the interstellar medium.
Developer Steve Troughton-Smith spotted the release on Friday morning and has been tweeting out his discoveries since then. Based on the firmware, the HomePod is essentially a big iPhone with no screen, Troughton-Smith says . The device even shows up as an iPhone SE in the iTunes Store, although Troughton-Smith reveals , “there doesn’t seem to be any kind of provision in the HomePod OS shell for installing apps or extensions.” So don’t expect any special HomePod apps right out of the gate. There’s also some code that describes a simple LED display on top of the HomePod, one that could show basic symbols like “+” and “-” and maybe weather icons. Otherwise, the code just looks a lot like boring old iOS: