HomePod will get smarter (and more chill) this fall

By

HomePod speaker
HomePod is getting some nifty new features.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple didn’t mention HomePod during yesterday’s iPhone 11 event — but it certainly didn’t forget about it, either.

Following the keynote, Apple quietly updated HomePod’s webpage. In doing so, it added exciting details about improvements being lined up for Apple’s smart speaker this fall.

The first update, coming September 30, will add 100,000 radio stations. Powered by iHeartRadio, Radio.com, and TuneIn streaming radio, these radio stations can be activated by asking Siri to find them. Apple announced this feature at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

If you’re not in the mood for 100,000 radio stations, however, that’s okay. HomePod users will also soon be able to ask for “ambient sounds.” This relaxing background white noise will include crashing ocean waves, forest birds, rainstorms, and more. There’s no exact release date given for this feature, but it is “coming this fall.”

Finally, HomePod is taking a note out of Google’s playbook with the ability to learn voices. According to Apple, HomePod will be able to identify up to six different voices. This will help with personalization, such as suggested music tracks, messages, and more. It could also be great for anyone wanting to use their HomePod as a smart home hub, since different users will be able to create different customizations.

HomePod: Working hard to climb to the top

First unveiled at WWDC 2017, HomePod shipped to customers in February 2018. The smart assistant has been praised for its high-end sound quality, although Siri was criticized compared to Alexa and Google Assistant. Since then, Apple has quietly been improving the service.

There’s still a long way to go until it can challenge the established smart speaker giants, though. A recent Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) report said that there are currently upward of 76 million smart speakers in American homes and offices. Of these, Amazon Echo makes up 70% of the installed base, Google Home is 25%, and HomePod lags far behind at just 5%.

Which smart speaker — if any — do you have at home? Let us know in the comments below.

Via: Apple Insider