New HomePod software chief tasked with making Apple smart speaker more competitive

Photo: Leander Kahney / Cult of Mac

Apple has reportedly hired Afrooz Family as its new head of software development for HomePod. He has reportedly been tasked with making the smart speaker a stronger rival for Amazon and Google products.

That would be something of a twist for the product.

Someone to (hopefully) turn the HomePod around

The family does not lead the entire project. He was hired by Apple to “lead software efforts for his HomePod smart speaker,” according to Bloomberg.

Apple’s offering had 24.6% of the US market for smart speakers in Q2 2021. That puts it well behind Google’s and Amazon’s products. Still, the release of the HomePod mini in 2020 helped Apple grow its market share significantly. Shipments tripled year-over-year.

But there is always room for more improvement. And Afrooz Family has many years of experience in audio. Much of it at Apple. His LinkedIn profile shows that he spent 6 years at Cupertino and ended up as a Senior Audio Engineer. He left in 2018 to be Chief Technology Officer for smart speaker-maker Sing.

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