At the iPhone XS launch event, Apple gently reminded consumers about HomePod, its Siri-enabled wireless smart speaker. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that HomePod will be getting new software update that will enable new functions like multiple timers, phone calls and ability to ping your iPhone from HomePod in case you have misplaced it.
Apple HomePod will also be able to search for lyrics, a feature being expanded as part of release of iOS 12. One of the big new feature coming to iPhone and iPad with the release of iOS 12 is Siri Shortcuts. The new Siri Shortcuts feature functions similar to Routines feature on Amazon’s Echo and Google Home smart speakers. With Siri Shortcuts, Apple will allow you to trigger multiple actions with one single command.
Siri Shortcuts allows developers to expose quick actions on their applications to Apple’s digital assistant. “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.
At the Gather Round event yesterday, Apple announced that iOS 12 will begin rolling out to iPhone, iPad and 6th generation iPod Touch starting September 17. However, there is no word on when these HomePod-specific features will roll out. The announcement yesterday was clearly an effort from Apple to ensure that customers do not forget that such a device even exist.
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Apple HomePod was introduced as a radical new smart speaker that will challenge all Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant-based smart speakers in the market. However, the limited functionality of Siri on the HomePod has limited its appeal to consumers and at $349 price, even critics declared it to be expensive. With new features, Apple is trying to appeal to a large set of users tied to its ecosystem and it is also rumored to be working on a cheaper variant.