While Apple’s recently concluded event focused on the new iPhone X generation and Apple Watch Series 4, that wasn’t the only big things the company had prepared. Outside of the spotlight, Apple announced an update to the HomePod that might make its $349 price tag finally worth it for some interested buyers. In addition to things like being able to make and take calls, the smart speaker is finally getting a whole lot smarter thanks to the addition of Siri Shortcuts.
Granted, Apple has been marketing the HomePod more as a premium audio accessory that just happened to be smart rather than a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. That distinction was lost on early adopters, though, who criticized the speaker’s half-baked support for Siri’s features.
At this year’s WWDC, Apple introduced Siri Shortcuts, perhaps the biggest leap the smart assistant has made in recent memory. It allowed for tasks to be chained together and even lets users create their own voice command for routines. Now those are coming to the HomePod as well, finally opening up the speaker to a bigger connected home ecosystem.
But wait, there’s more! The HomePod has finally gotten the ability to make or take calls, no hands required. Need more than one timer for your cooking needs? It can now do that, too! The HomePod finally makes better use of its Apple Music integration by letting you search for songs just from their lyrics. And in case you forgot where you last put down your iPhone, it will be able to ring it up to tell you where.
The HomePod price isn’t going down and Apple doesn’t seem to have any plans for a v2. And that’s fine because few will argue that it doesn’t sound great as it is. With Apple’s latest update, it’s now also more useful as well, making it a truly smart speaker that sounds great, too.