New HomePod software chief tasked with making Apple smart speaker more competitive

By

HomePod mini
A new head of HomePod software development making make Apple’s smart speaker smarter.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple reportedly hired Afrooz Family as its new head of software development for the HomePod. He’s supposedly been tasked with making the smart speaker a stronger rival for Amazon’s and Google’s products.

That would be something of a turnaround for the product.

Someone to (hopefully) turn HomePod around

Family won‘t head up the entire project. He was hired by Apple to “lead software efforts for its HomePod smart speaker,” according to Bloomberg.

Apple’s offering had 24.6% of the U.S. smart speaker market in Q2 2021. That puts it well behind Google’s and Amazon’s products. Still, the release of HomePod mini in 2020 helped Apple grow its share of market considerably. Shipments tripled year-over-year.

But there’s always room for more improvement. And Afrooz Family has years of experience in audio. Much of it at Apple. His LinkedIn profile shows he spent 6 years at Cupertino, ending up as a Senior Audio Engineer. He left in 2018 to be Chief Technology Officer for smart speaker-maker Syng.