As disclosed on the specs page for Apple’s new HomePod mini, the diminutive speaker is Apple’s first to support Thread networking technology.
Thread is a low-power IP-based networking technology for connecting Internet of Things (IoT) devices, offering a secure, mesh-based system that makes it easy to build an ecosystem of devices.
While Thread is essentially agnostic to the application layers that run on top of it, it can support multiple layers and may play a role in Project Connected Home over IP, the alliance of Apple, Amazon, Google, and other companies that is seeking to make it simpler to build devices compatible with multiple ecosystems such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant.
For the time being, however, Apple says in a footnote that HomePod mini’s Thread support is limited to HomeKit devices, so the technology can’t yet be leveraged cross-platform and it remains to be seen how Apple will embrace
The chances are you are reading these words on a smartphone or computer screen. For around the last 10 years, these types of screens have been based on a display technology composed of so-called thin film transistors. These are inorganic transistors which require very little power, and they have proven themselves very capable given their widespread adoption. But they have some limits which researchers have been busy trying to overcome.
“We explore new ways to improve upon thin film transistors, such as new designs or new methods of manufacture,” said Gyo Kitahara, a Ph.D. student from the Department of Applied Physics. “Organic thin film transistors, for example, have a bright future in LCD screen devices. Compared to the inorganic kind currently used, we expect the organic kind to be useful in low-cost, large-area, lightweight and wearable electronic products, especially by using printing-based production technologies.”