It’s no secret that the HomePod’s software updates have been a bit sluggish, which made it all the more alarming that the device was barely touched on in yesterday’s Apple event.
Well, even as pre-launch promises are still getting ironed out, by the fall Apple says that its home smart speaker will be gaining new functionality including multi-user support, live radio and a relaxing “ambient sounds” mode, according to an updated product page on the company’s website. Some of this functionality was detailed at Apple’s June services event.
Multi-user support is “coming this fall” assumedly after the release of iOS13. This is one of the most egregious missing features from the device at the moment, something both Alexa and Google Home devices have pushed forward more quickly on.
The product page for the HomePod details that multi-user voice recognition will allow the device to recognize up to six individual voices. This feature will allow users to ask the device to play music catered to their interests while also asking the device to carry out commands related to personal data like recent iMessages or upcoming meetings.
The live radio features is part of iOS13’s functionality and will be arriving at the end of the month with support for iHeartRadio, Radio.com, and TuneIn. More than 100,000 radio stations will be available to users who ask Siri to pop on a station.
Alongside the new radio stations, in the fall Apple will be adding a relaxing Ambient Sounds mode “featuring the soothing sounds of ocean waves, forest birds, rainstorms, and more.”
Apple hasn’t proven the HomePod to be all that capable in meeting consumer-facing software update deadlines so we’ll see how that goes, but they’re saying all of these features will arrive by fall.