Apple could be renewing its HomePod efforts with new software head

The move could signal big changes to software coming up for the smart speakers.

Apple could be renewing its efforts with the HomePod, as it rehires one of its former engineers to head software development for the smart speaker.

According to Bloomberg, Afrooz Family has returned to work at the Cupertino giant, marking what could be a move from Apple to improve the software of its smart speaker to compete against products from Google and Amazon.

Family was formerly employed as a senior audio engineer at Apple from 2012 to 2016, leaving to co-found the audio startup, Syng, alongside former Apple industrial designer Christopher Stringer.

Syng made its debut with the Cell Alpha, a premium speaker with a focus on spatial audio that was priced at $1,799. Family left the startup earlier this year.

Apple first launched the HomePod in 2018, which then had few smart features built-in. The company discontinued the product in March 2021 to focus on smaller and more affordable HomePod Mini.

The HomePod’s latest software version 15 released in September 2021 and introduced the ability for up to two HomePod Minis to be run as the default speakers for Apple TV 4K.

Meanwhile, Apple is holding its next event on 18 October, where it is expected to announce its new M1X MacBook Pros.