The HomePod was announced in 2017, but Apple’s smart speaker never really became popular. This lack of popularity prompted the HomePod mini to replace the original model. However, Apple does not appear to have abandoned HomePod, as the company has now hired a new Head for HomePod Software.
According to one Bloomberg report, which heard from sources familiar with the matter, Apple has hired engineer Afrooz Family to lead the HomePod Software team. The family had previously worked for Apple, between 2012 and 2016, but he left the company to co-found Sound Start Sing.
As we covered last year, Sing has recruited several other former Apple employees to work on new products for the home audio market, which basically means HomePod competitors. Since Sing is not part of the deal, Family left the startup to return to Apple.
The iPhone maker is recruiting the Afrooz Family to lead the work, according to people familiar with the matter. The family worked at Apple from 2012 to 2016 before going on to co-found Sound Sing with former Apple industrial designer Christopher Stringer. The family left the startup earlier this year after helping develop the company’s product, Cell Alpha.
Mark Gurman, Bloomberg
At Apple, Afrooz Family is responsible for working with some popular audio technologies for the company’s products, including Spatial Audio and the HomePods Spatial Awareness system.
Although the HomePod is a smart speaker, Apple initially targeted it as a high-quality speaker. However, due to its high price and few smart features compared to its competitors, the HomePod never became a hit. Earlier this year, Apple officially discontinued the HomePod. The company says it has now turned its efforts to the HomePod mini, which was introduced in 2020 at a more affordable price.
According to rumors, Apple is still working on new HomePod models, which include a version placed between the HomePod mini and the original HomePod. Bloomberg also reported that Apple is developing a set-top box that combines Apple TV software and the HomePod speaker into one device.
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