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Apple is hiring a former employee as HomePod Software Head in hopes of competing with the best-selling smart speaker Amazon Echo.
Afrooz Family returns to Apple to head HomePod Software. The family worked with Apple from 2012 to 2018, first as in audio programs and then as a senior audio engineer.
According to Bloomberg, Family left Apple to co-found audio startup Sync with former Apple Industrial designer Christopher Stringer. He left Sing in early 2021 after helping develop the startup’s Cell Alpha, called the world’s first triphonic speaker.
The new HomePod Software Head received his bachelor’s degree, a BA in music from Berkley and his master’s degree in music, science and technology from Stanford University.
Apple has struggled to make a significant dent in the smart speaker market, which is dominated by Amazon and Google speakers. Researchers have suggested that more than two-thirds of smart speakers in the United States are Amazon-branded, while Google accounts for a quarter. Apple comes in a distant third.
In March, Apple unveiled its full-size HomePod to focus on its small HomePod mini, a $ 99 smart speaker announced in the fall of 2020.