At the end of the Gather Round event yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook briefly mentioned and update that is coming to the Apple HomePod. The update is expected to land on Monday, September 17th when updates to iOS, tvOS, and WatchOS are all scheduled. The update will bring HomePodOS to version 12.
The update itself is going to be huge and it brings a lot of new features and functionality to the smart speaker. While many will look at these updates as catch up features, which frankly they are, they will still be welcomed by HomePod users.
First, support for Spanish in the US, Spain and Mexico is coming with this update, as well as support for Canadian French. These languages will be available in the Control Center for your HomePod.
Next, is searching by lyrics. You can ask Siri to play a particular song, artist or genre already but with this update, you can ask to play a song with certain lyrics. For example, you could ask, “Hey Siri, play the song that goes A modern day warrior Mean, mean stride…” and it will find the song Tom Sawyer from Rush.
HomePod is also gaining the ability to support multiple named timers. This is a big improvement and will help people manage things like multiple cooking times or set reminders as an example.
Another big feature is the ability to make and receive phone calls. This is something that Google Home has been able to do a for a while now so it is good to see Apple add the feature. You can make a call by asking Siri to call someone on your Contacts list. If you have an incoming call, you can ask Siri to answer the call and it will be routed to your HomePod. And, if you are on a call on your iPhone, you can route that call to your HomePod at any time during the call.
Speaking of your iPhone, Find my iPhone is coming to HomePod so you can have it ping your phone when you can’t find it.
Finally, there is support for Siri Shortcuts. This is something that is also coming in iOS 12 for iPhone and iPad and will allow you to personalize shortcuts and string commands together for Siri to perform. So you could say, “Hey Siri, goodnight.” and it will dim your lights, start some relaxing music, and give you a reminder of your alarm time as an example.
Look for the update to hit your Apple HomePod starting next Monday.