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Smart Home

HomePod to get calling, other updates Sept. 17

Apple is finally adding calling to its flagship Siri smart speaker.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Apple on Wednesday announced a few updates to its $349 HomePod smart speaker, all expected to hit on Sept. 17. They include:

  • Setting multiple timers: Let the HomePod multitask for you. Ask Siri to set a timer for the pot roast, and another for the cookies.
  • Making and receiving calls: Ask Siri to call someone from your list of contacts -- or provide a specific number. You should also be able to ask Siri "who just called?" if you miss a call.
  • Searching for your iPhone and other Apple devices: Locate other Apple devices in your home from the HomePod. 
  • Search for songs by their lyrics: Apple says you'll be able to ask Siri to "play the song that goes like this..." in its upcoming update. 
  • Potential for Siri Shortcuts: Support for Shortcuts should allow various apps to work on the HomePod, and give you greater customization over your smart speaker. If, for instance, you tell your HomePod, "Hey, Siri, it's movie night," it might launch a nighttime routine that includes adjusting your HomeKit-enabled smart lights, ordering pizza and more. 
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Apple already added support for stereo pairs and multiroom audio earlier this year, but the addition of making and receiving calls is an important upgrade we've been waiting for. We look forward to testing it and the other additions as soon as they become available.

See everything that Apple has announced at its Sept. 12 event so far