While the HomePod is already a powerful smart speaker, the emphasis from day one has been the speaker rather than the smarts. But Apple is starting to balance the scale a bit. At WWDC, the company announced that iOS 13 will not only let the HomePod understand individual voices, but also support Handoff for media and phone calls.
Here’s a (very) quick overview of the two major features coming to HomePod later this year.
The personalized experience
For a household with multiple people inside, a HomePod can be a singular experience in its current state, as Siri on the smart speaker can only recognize one person. However, that is changing later this year with the rollout of iOS 13. Apple confirmed that the smart speaker will be able to understand individuals, offering a more personalized experience.
This means that users will be able to hear their own music when asking Siri to play it on the speaker, among other personal aspects.
Hand off music, phone calls, and podcasts
Handoff makes it quick and easy to transfer media from one device to another. HomePod is finally learning this trick with iOS 13. Once this is available, users will be able to simply bring their iPhone close to the HomePod while they are listening to music, tuning into a podcast, or even while they’re on a phone call and have that audio switch over to the smart speaker.
A step in the right direction
Apple’s first smart speaker has a lot of room for improvements, especially as it relates to Siri and the functionality baked into the device. While iOS 13 isn’t adding a laundry list of new features to the mix, these two elements are certainly some of the most oft-requested to date. So it’s a step in the right direction, at least.
What are you hoping Apple brings to the HomePod in the future?