Wednesday, 30 May 2018 10:18

Stereo, multi-room support arrive for HomePod Featured

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The widely anticipated software update, allowing Apple's HomePod smart speakers to be used in stereo pairs, has arrived as part of iOS 11.4, along with multi-room support in AirPlay 2.

When HomePod shipped earlier this year, it could only be used individually. But Apple promised a software update that would support stereo pairs and multi-room capability, as found on competing wireless speakers such as those sold by Sonos.

The newly released iOS 11.4 delivers support for HomePod stereo pairs. Apple describes the feature thus: "Each HomePod is able to play its own audio channel — left or right — while separating out both the ambient and direct energy. This innovative stereo sound provides a wide, almost three dimensional soundstage for an incredible listening experience anywhere in the room. A HomePod stereo pair creates room filling sound with greater bass extension, resulting in a deeper, more accurate reproduction of low frequencies."

Set-up is said to be easy, because setting up a second HomePod in the same room triggers the option of creating a stereo pair. Only one HomePod in a pair responds to Siri requests.

iOS 11.4 also includes AirPlay 2, which features multi-room support. This allows the same, or different, content to be played in various rooms. AirPlay 2 can be controlled within apps or via Control Center.

In addition to HomePod, speakers from Bang & Olufsen, Bluesound, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Denon, Libratone, Marantz, Marshall, Naim, Pioneer and Sonos are expected to support AirPlay 2.


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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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