Apple is quietly working on several major improvements that could make its HomePod speaker a far more capable companion in your home.
The tech giant has quietly seeded a private beta of HomePod OS 12.0 that includes several new phone-calling features, according to Apple-tracking site iGeneration. The software includes the ability to place and answer calls from the HomePod and even help you find your phone using a Find My iPhone command. There's also the possibility of Apple adding support for several timers, so you can have them go off when you want. The report was earlier covered by 9to5Mac.
When Apple released the HomePod earlier this year, its functionality was hobbled, to say the least. While it has a solid speakerphone that lets you talk to people without ever using your phone, it's only accessible after a call has been initiated and you choose to connect through the smart speaker.
According to iGeneration, Apple is changing that with the update. If the software is real, it would allow you to tell Siri to call someone and it would connect. You could also choose to route your calls through the HomePod and answer them with a voice command.
The reason Apple couldn't get calls to initiate on the HomePod at launch was because it couldn't access your contacts. If the company is indeed planning the aforementioned HomePod update, it would suggest that it's also found a way to connect your HomePod to your contacts.
The ability to set multiple timers is a key feature of the Amazon Echo and was conspicuously missing from the HomePod. It could come especially in handy for HomePod owners who use their speaker in the kitchen or bedroom.
Still, the notoriously secretive Apple hasn't confirmed any of these features, so it's important to take this with the proverbial grain of salt. If the new software is the real deal, it would likely be made available alongside iOS 12 this fall.