Apple’s HomePod update will finally let you make calls

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker is reportedly getting a number of new features in an upcoming update, including the ability to (finally) make and receive calls.

iGeneration (opens in new tab) reported on the iOS 12 update, which is currently in public beta, meaning there may still be more to come to Apple devices as the update is finalised.

The calling feature is likely to attract the most attention, allowing users to link their iPhones to the HomePod to make calls to mobile and landline numbers. The HomePod was light on functionality when it launched in late 2017, and Apple is presumably hoping the new features will help shift more units of the device.

The report also pointed to improved translation features, tracking features for locating your iPhone, and the ability to switch WiFi networks without entirely resetting the device.

All the kids are doing it

In contrast to the HomePod, Amazon’s Echo range of smart speakers is already able to make calls and send text messages to other Alexa-enabled devices. 

Users in the United States can also now expand this capability with the Amazon Echo Connect, an Echo accessory that enables you to make calls to standard landlines and mobile phones, including international and emergency calls – with an expectation that the accessory will come to the UK and Europe in the coming months.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist. Before going freelance, he spent more than three years at TechRadar reporting on TVs, projectors and smart speakers as the website's Home Cinema Editor – and has been interviewed live on both BBC World News and Channel News Asia, discussing the future of transport and 4K resolution televisions respectively. As a graduate of English Literature and persistent theatre enthusiast, he'll usually be found forcing Shakespeare puns into his technology articles, which he thinks is what the Bard would have wanted. Bylines also include Edge, T3, and Little White Lies.