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Apple today announced that the HomePod smart speaker will get a series of enhancements soon, like the ability to make and receive phone calls, either by saying the phone number you want to call or asking Siri to call a number in your contact list. Siri can also tell you if missed a call by simply asking “Hey Siri, who just called?”
The HomePod, which began by making an appeal to audiophiles with a Personal DJ assistant, will also soon be able to search Apple Music’s library of 50 million songs by lyrics.
As part of a software upgrade for the HomePod, support for Spanish-speaking Siri is also on the way for Spain, Mexico, and the United States, as well as Canadian French in Canada, according to an Apple blog post. This follows news last month that Amazon plans to bring Echo speakers to Mexico, Alexa’s first venture into Latin America.
The HomePod goes on sale in Mexico and Spain October 26 and is currently available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S.
With the arrival of iOS 12 on September 17, the HomePod will also be able to set multiple timers and find your iPhone or other Apple devices by simply saying “Hey Siri, find my iPhone.”
Finally, iOS 12 also comes with the introduction of Shortcuts, a standalone app for the creation of custom commands for the HomePod, iPhone, Apple Watch, and other devices. Shortcuts will also allow users to create commands that carry out multiple actions with a single utterance, so you could wake up and say “Hey Siri, good morning” to turn on your lights, hear your favorite playlist, get a rundown of your schedule, and hear about traffic on your commute to work.
The HomePod first made its debut in February, and in some respects is still catching up with its competitors. Many of the features announced today are already available with industry-leading Alexa and Google Assistant; however, the Shortcuts app appears to be more flexible than Routines for custom commands that Amazon and Google introduced for their AI assistants.
In other potential features on the way for the HomePod, Apple published a patent last month that hints multiuser support based on unique voice identification could also be on the way soon.