Apple focuses on HomePod to compete with Amazon Echo
Apple focuses on HomePod to compete with Amazon Echo

Apple has appointed a new engineer to lead software work on the HomePod smart speaker with the goal of making the product more efficient.

The iPhone manufacturer has hired audio technology expert Afroze Family to run the company. The family worked at Apple from 2012 to 2016, then co-founded audio startup Syng with former Apple industrial designer Christopher Stringer.

After helping develop the company's Cell Alpha product, the family left the startup earlier this year.

The company is trying to challenge smart speakers better than Amazon and Google. Amazon Echo powers Alexa and currently dominates the industry.

Users rely on the product to perform operations such as playing music, answering questions, and setting alarms.

Jason Harrison, who runs HomePod, left Apple last year to work for Airbnb.

Apple refreshed the concept last fall with the $99 HomePod mini.

The device was not popular with the company. But it does help increase the company's overall speaker sales.

However, according to data from its consumer intelligence research partners, it hasn't made much headway when compared to Amazon and Google devices.

Singh also has his own problems. As a high-end alternative to the HomePod, the startup has developed its own speakerphone priced at $1,800.

The device delivers what the startup calls high-pitched notes that come from three different directions. But this device has always been difficult to design and manufacture, and its price point makes it a niche product rather than a consumer one.

The family has a lot of experience with smart speakers. Prior to joining Syng, Apple's audio engineer was responsible for the original HomePod.

Apple wants HomePod back on the right track

iPhone manufacturers usually update HomePod software, as well as important iPhone and iPad software, every year.

Last month, the tech giant updated HomePod and improved its integration with Apple TV. A few months ago, the company readjusted oversight of its products and merged the software teams from HomePod and Apple TV into one and reported iTunes inventor Jeff Rubin.

The iPhone manufacturer plans to integrate HomePods and Apple TV. Bloomberg reports that the company is developing an integrated camera that combines Apple TV, HomePod, and FaceTime, which will first hit the market in 2023.

The sound quality of the first HomePod in 2018 was well received but was criticized for its high price. In March the company halted production. Last year, it released a cheaper and smaller HomePod Mini.

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