Apple hires new engineer to lead development of HomePod software

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Apple is looking to increase HomePod sales with better software.

As reported by Bloomberg, the company has hired Afrooz Family to lead software development efforts for its smart speaker as it tries to compete with Amazon and Google.

The iPhone maker is using Afrooz Family to lead the work, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Family worked at Apple from 2012 to 2016 before leaving to co-found audio startup Syng with former Apple industrial designer Christopher Stringer. Family left the startup earlier this year after helping develop the company’s product, the Cell Alpha.

Jason Harrison, who had overseen HomePod software, left Apple last year for Airbnb Inc. The original HomePod, which debuted at $ 349 in 2018, sold poorly and was discontinued earlier this year. Apple revisited the concept last fall with the $ 99 HomePod mini.

According to the report, Family was working as a sound engineer at Apple when the company designed and released the original HomePod. While the $ 349 smart speaker didn’t perform well, the $ 99 HomePod mini did better for the business. However, it hasn’t caught up with Amazon and Google who are still releasing $ 49 smart speakers in the market.

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The report also states that the company is still planning to launch a new product as early as 2023 that will combine Apple TV and HomePod with a FaceTime camera.

An Apple representative declined to comment on the Bloomberg story.

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