Apple hasn't released a new smart speaker in quite some time, but the company does often make incremental updates to the voice assistant that powers its HomePod. Here's a quick look at the biggest upcoming changes Apple has planned for Siri, which were announced at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference June 3.
Message announcements. Siri is currently built into Apple's AirPods, but its capabilities are limited. In the future, Siri will let you know through your AirPods when you've received a message. It can also read the messages to you, and let you respond. Don't worry, this isn't just for iMessage. The company claims Siri is compatible with third-party messaging apps as well, though it did not specify which ones.
New music and features for HomePod. Siri will soon be able to stream more than 100,000 radio stations, including some from leading services iHeartRadio and TuneIn. Also, keep an eye out for a new Handoff feature for HomePod users. If you're near your smart speaker, you'll be able to "transfer" whatever song or podcast it's playing to your iPhone, and can keep listening when you leave.
Voice recognition. Much like voice rivals Google Assistant and Alexa have been able to do for quite some time, Siri will now be able to distinguish between multiple voices as they speak to it. Based on who is talking to it, Siri will be able to deliver personalized music, texts, reminders and notes.
Shortcuts. Apple has been pushing Siri Shortcuts, its version of Alexa's and Google Assistant's Routines, since they debuted at last year's developer conference, but I personally don't use them, and don't know anyone who does. This may change with the new Shortcuts app, which will be pre-loaded onto iOS 13. In this app, you'll see a list of all the shortcuts you've created, and can also create multi-step updates.
A new voice. Apple has given Siri a new voice that it claims is entirely software-generated (Siri was originally based on actors' voices) which it claims will give its assistant a more natural cadence and complex sentences. From a demo presented onstage at WWDC and some samples the company has presented since, the new voice certainly sounds more like a human than the old one did. Check it out for yourself on Apple's website.
Stay on top of all of today's Apple announcements at our WWDC 2019 hub page.