Apple aims to boost HomePod efforts with new Audio Software Lead

While the HomePod mini appears to be doing all right, all things considered, Apple is still missing a huge chunk of the smart speaker market. Meanwhile, Google and Amazon have capitalized. But it looks like Apple’s not quite ready to go quietly into that good night (yet).

According to a report today fromĀ Bloomberg, Apple has just picked up a brand new Audio Software Lead. The primary goal? Help boost HomePod relevance in a market where Apple could make some big gains. The new software lead for the HomePod team has apparently been tasked with specifically taking on Google and Amazon.

That new audio software lead is Afrooz Family, and this is actually their second stint at the company. Family originally worked with Apple between 2012 and 2016. And now, with their return, they are leading the charge for the HomePod (and also working with the Apple TV as well).

A conceptual rendering depicting an Apple-branded soundbar providing some of the features of the Apple TV and HomePod, with a built-in display
Image credit: Philip Goolkasian / Behance

What this will actually lead to remains to be seen, of course. The original HomePod was priced at $350 when it launched, and it boasted impressive sound quality. Reviews for the smart speaker were not shy about that. However, Siri wasn’t as powerful as Google’s Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa on their own smart speakers, and the high price tag apparently made a lot of potential customers balk.

Since then, Apple has actually discontinued the original HomePod altogether. The company’s only smart speaker on the market now is the HomePod mini, which is more attractively priced at around $100 (depending on sales and what not).

There are rumors that Apple is going a little wild with its next HomePod device. For Apple, anyway. The new device is said to combine “Apple TV and HomePod functionality,” and also include a built-in camera for video calls. No word on when that device might see the light of day, though, or how much it might cost when it arrives.

Do you still have an original HomePod? If so, how’s it treating you all this time later?