Apple Upgrades HomePod Speaker With Stereo, Multi-Room Audio

Apple Upgrades HomePod Speaker With Stereo, Multi-Room Audio

Apple's iOS 11.4 update has been released, and with Messages in iCloud support, there's more to it than just AirPlay 2.

AirPlay 2 makes HomePod a more competitive smart speaker, and a more user-friendly one. You can control AirPlay 2 playback from your Apple TV, as well as from your iOS device running iOS 11.4.

As mentioned, the HomePod 11.4 update ships with two notable features - AirPlay 2 and Stereo Pairing.

The lack of stereo pairing and multi-room audio was seen by many as a failing of HomePod, but Apple has now addressed this.

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You can download iOS 11.4 today. Users can say, "Hey Siri, play classical in the living room", and the appropriate audio will play through the AirPlay 2-compatible speakers, but only in the living room.

The biggest advantage that AirPlay 2 brings to the table is multi-room audio support.

This means that Siri will be able to play music across speakers from other manufacturers like Bang & Olufsen, Bluesound, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Denon, Libratone, Marantz, Marshall, Naim, Pioneer and Sonos. When two HomePod's are paired only one will respond to Siri requests, apparently, to avoid both replying at the same time. Apple says that by stereo pairing two HomePods, an nearly three-dimensional soundstage is created, providing room-filling sound with enhanced bass extension, and a deeper, more accurate reproduction of low frequencies. There's also Calendar support, which lets you check, add, edit, and delete appointments to configured calendars. To enable the feature on your iPhone, go to Settings, tap your name at the top of the Settings screen and select iCloud; from there, scroll down to the list of Apps Using iCloud and make sure Messages is toggled on. Users who saved all of their iMessage conversations may have found their local storage space taken up by large iMessage logs since all that information saved to individual devices.

HomePod will automatically update to support stereo pairs, unless auto updates are disabled in the Home app.

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