Apple HomePod Update To Bring Multi-User Voice And Music Handoff Support This Fall

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When Apple announced the iPhone 11/iPhone Pro, seventh-generation iPad and Apple Watch Series 5 yesterday, there was no mention made about one of its lesser-known products: the HomePod. The HomePod is Apple's answer to the Google Home and Amazon Echo family of smart speakers, but hasn't been nearly as successful in the marketplace -- likely due to its exorbitant price tag (Apple cut its price from $349 to $299 back in April).

With that being said, Apple does have a few updates in store for the HomePod which were further confirmed via the official product page for the device. One of the biggest additions is support for multiple users. Instead of the HomePod being tied to just one person's voice (and calendar data, music libraries, messages, etc.), each user's voice will be recognized, giving access to that person's siloed information. Apple says that up to six voices can be identified. In case you were wondering, Amazon and Google have supported multi-user/voice profiles for quite some time with Alexa and the Google Assistant respectively.

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Another new addition is support for live radio stations. The feature was first announced back in early July, but will launch on the HomePod on September 30th. You can tune into local channels or stations from around the globe simply by asking Siri. Apple will be pulling from TuneIn, iHeartRadio and to fulfill your requests.

Yet another new feature comes in the form of music handoff, which will allow you to seamlessly shift music from your iPhone or iPad to a HomePod. All you need to do is place your iOS device in close proximity to the HomePod, after which you'll be asked if you want to handoff your music. So, rest assured that the killer Childish Gambino track that you were listening to on your run will pick right up on your HomePod as you walk through the door to cool down.

Finally, Apple says that HomePod will gain a new Ambient Sounds mode, which features "soothing sounds of ocean waves, forest birds, rainstorms, and more" to help you relax. 

With the exception of Live Radio via Siri, which launches September 30th alongside iOS 13.1, all of the other aforementioned features will arrive "later this fall" according to Apple.