Apple was expected to launch a host of new products at the grand event in Cupertino, but it only made the new iPhones and the Apple Watch Series 4 official. The company did not unveil the new expected HomePod 2, and instead announced an update for the existing HomePod, dousing all possibilities of a refresh this year. The update, however, brings a host of new features, including calling abilities, support for Spanish in the US, Spain, and Mexico, and expands support in Canada with Canadian French. With the update, HomePod will now support Siri Shortcuts, and the Find My iPhone feature will also be enabled on the smart speaker.
The latest HomePod update is set to arrive on September 17, and possibly the biggest addition is the ability to make and receive calls. After the update, you can ask Siri, via HomePod, to call someone from your Contact list, or say a number if it doesn’t exist in your directory. Incoming calls will be directed to the HomePod from the iPhone automatically, and you can answer the call by just asking Siri to do it for you. Furthermore, if you happen to get a missed call, then you can just ask Siri, “Hey Siri, who just called?” to know who called. If you wish to not use the calling feature on the HomePod, you can easily switch all calls back to the iPhone using the audio picker on the iPhone.
The HomePod update also brings the addition to search for music based on the lyrics. All you need to do is ask Siri to “play the song that goes like this…”, for example, “play the song that goes ‘Wake me up when September ends.'” It also supports multiple timers, so you can put in one timer for the cake, another for the lasagna, and one more to dim the lights at night. The Find My iPhone feature, that allows you to ring your iPhone in order to find it, has now arrived for HomePod users as well. Finally, Siri Shortcuts, a neat feature that allowed you to personalise shortcuts using Siri commands, has now arrived on the HomePod as well. Using the new Shotcuts app, you can personalise shortcuts for HomePod to do a series of tasks by default. For example, “Hey Siri, good morning” could run a morning routine and order coffee from a coffee shop’s app, turn on the kitchen lights from the Home app and share the first few calendar appointments for the day.
As mentioned, the update adds support for Spanish in the US, Spain and Mexico, and expands support in Canada with Canadian French. The update will roll out to all HomePod users on September 17. HomePod is currently available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the UK and US, and Apple has announced that it will be available in Mexico and Spain starting October 26. The price of the HomePod remains unchanged at $349 (roughly Rs. 25,100)
New iPhones may well be amazing but will Apple follow a new strategy in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.