Apple hires new engineer to lead its HomePod software development

What you need to know

  • Apple has reportedly hired Afrooz Family to lead its HomePod software efforts.
  • Family had already worked at Apple from 2012 to 2016.
  • The company has struggled in the smart speaker area compared to Amazon and Google.

Apple is hoping to improve its HomePod software to compete with Amazon and Google.

Apple is looking to boost HomePod sales with better software.

As reported by Bloomberg, the company has hired Afrooz Family to lead the software development efforts for its smart speaker as it attempts to contend with Amazon and Google.

The iPhone maker is enlisting Afrooz Family to lead the work, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Family worked at Apple from 2012 to 2016 before leaving to co-found audio startup Syng with former Apple industrial designer Christopher Stringer. Family left the startup earlier this year after helping develop the company’s product, the Cell Alpha.

Jason Harrison, who had overseen HomePod software, left Apple last year for Airbnb Inc. The original HomePod, which debuted at $349 in 2018, sold poorly and was discontinued earlier this year. Last fall, Apple revisited the concept with the $99 HomePod mini.

According to the report, Family worked as an audio engineer at Apple when the company designed and released the original HomePod. While the $349 smart speaker did not perform well, the $99 HomePod mini has done better for the company. It has not, however, caught up to Amazon and Google who are still releasing $49 smart speakers to the market.

The report also noted that the company still plans to release a new product as soon as 2023 that will combine the Apple TV and HomePod along with a FaceTime camera.

A representative from Apple declined to comment on the story from Bloomberg.

Bottom line: Apple is preaching to the choir with this one, a tremendous speaker for its price and size, but only for those who are already invested in Apple’s ecosystem of products and services.

$99 at Apple
$99 at Best Buy

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