At the end of the Apple Event today which introduced the new iPhone and the Apple Watch, the company also announced new features for the HomePod home smart speaker which brings improvements to Siri controls
The HomePod has been out since February 2018 and whilst the audio has been impressive the lack of support for Siri and using the HomePod for making phone calls amongst other features as put others off buying, well wait no more as Apple is adding these via a software update coming 17th September 2018.
- Search by lyrics: Which lets you say something like “play the song that goes like this…” or “play the song that goes ‘I’m a rebel just for kicks now.’” and Siri will search the iTunes lyrics database and play the relevant song. The feature is currently only available in English.
- Set multiple timers: Previously, you could set just one timer at a time from the HomePod but now you can set multiple timers all at once.
- Make and receive phone calls: The HomePod will also allow you to make and receive calls. You can ask Siri to call someone and if someone calls your iPhone, you can choose to receive it on the HomePod. You can also ask Siri, “Hey Siri, who just called?” to check for missed calls. Any call made or picked up on the HomePod can easily be transitioned over to the iPhone.
- Find My iPhone: Just ask HomePod to search for your iPhone and the phone will start ringing, so you can easily track it down.
- Siri Shortcuts: Personalizing shortcuts for HomePod with a series of tasks is easy with a new Shortcuts app. 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 — all with one simple, customizable command.
You will get these features by a software update coming next week over the air. However, that being said I do think the HomePod has a long way to go to catch up with some of the features found in Google Home and Amazon Echo.