Apple have released a free software update that promises to improve their HomePod smart speaker through new support for stereo pairs and a new multi-room audio via AirPlay 2.
Among other things, Apple say the new iOS 11.4 software update introduces "the most advanced, easy to use, wireless multi-room audio system" in the form of AirPlay 2.
According to the company, AirPlay 2 makes it easier than ever to play music in any room from any room, move music from one room to another or play the same song everywhere using an iOS device, HomePod, Apple TV, or by asking Siri.
Setting up a stereo pair promises to be equally is straight-forward.
Apple say that when a second HomePod is set up in the same room, the user is prompted whether they would like to form a stereo pair. Even though these two speakers act as one, each HomePod communicates with each other so that only one speaker responds to Siri requests.
In addition, Apple say that the HomePod will now be able to communicate with any other AirPlay 2-enabled speakers you own. Essentially, this means that Siri is now able to control music playing on speakers from Bang & Olufsen, Bluesound, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Denon, Libratone, Marantz, Marshall, Naim, Pioneer and Sonos.
In our review of the HomePod back in March, we said that "Like most Apple products, the HomePod is a product that asks you to take the good with the bad - and that proposition might not sound so great when you hear what the competition has to offer. There are some pretty impressive highs here, but there also plenty of lows. There's little doubt that the HomePod is a great sounding speaker but it's one that's ultimately let down by the limitations of the Apple ecosystem."
This latest software update looks to be a strong first step in the right direction for the HomePod. Hopefully it isn't the last.
The Apple HomePod is sold through Apple Stores, apple.com/au, the Apple Store app and at select Apple Authorised Resellers. In Australia, the speaker is available in white and space grey colors for a RRP A$499 inc. GST.