One of the new features — frequently requested by customers — is the ability to set multiple timers. Siri is expected to gain more knowledge about food and nutrition with the update, which might include new cooking-specific commands, access to recipes or even linking calories back to the Health app in iOS. In addition, though the HomePod has been entirely dependent on the iPhone to make calls, users will now be able to initiate a call, answer calls, search call history and even dial a specific number through the HomePod. The update will also bring Find My iPhone to the HomePod, as well as the ability for the smart speaker to quickly connect to different WiFi networks.
Once these new features are launched, it will bring HomePod into the same league as the Amazon Echo and Google Home. However, Apple’s offering still won’t be able to recognize voices or support multiple users.
Still, there is hope that the update can help boost sales for the voice-activated smart speaker. Earlier this year, it was reported that Apple had reduced orders with Inventec, one of the manufacturers that builds the HomePod for the iPhone maker. Data had showed that pre-orders for the HomePod were strong and, in late January, the HomePod accounted for around one-third of smart speaker unit sales in the U.S. However, once it hit store shelves, sales began to drop.
“Even when people had the ability to hear these things, it still didn’t give Apple another spike,” said Ken Cassar, Slice principal analyst.