Wednesday, 30 May 2018 10:18

Stereo, multi-room support arrive for HomePod Featured


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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