It was recently announced that Apple hired a former HomePod engineer to lead the team developing HomePod software.
Indeed, the engineer, Afrooz Family, had left the company in 2016 to co-found audio company Syng with ex-Apple designer Christopher Stringer. However, he left this company earlier in the year. By hiring him back, Apple might be trying to make the HomePod more competitive and bring more features to its products.
Apple had to face heavy competition from Amazon and Google, as they have both developed speakers that are equipped with their smart assistants.