Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Apple Upgrades HomePod Speaker With Stereo, Multi-Room Audio

HomePod iPhone X iPad and Apple TV lined iOS 11.4 brings stereo pairs and multi-room audio with AirPlay 2
Oscar Goodwin | 30 May, 2018, 18:23

While listening to music, all you need do is select or unselect where the music is playing, or you can ask Siri to play music in a room, a group of rooms, or everywhere in the home, much like Sonos's existing offering.

iOS 11.4, released today (May 29), adds AirPlay 2, giving you the ability to sync up compatible speakers throughout your home when streaming audio. It also gives Apple TV the ability to transmit sound wirelessly to multiple speakers.

- “Using spatial awareness to sense their location in the room, each HomePod automatically adjusts the audio to sound great wherever it is placed and sound great together, ” said Apple.

The feature is extremely handy as it syncs your Messages app across devices, whether it's an iPhone, iPad, iPod (iOS 11.4) or even the Mac (macOS 10.13.5).

The latest update to iOS 11 will let you listen to audio across rooms and also take advantage of a feature promised so long ago, you might have forgotten that it was coming to your iPhone.

With two HomePod speakers set up as a stereo pair, Apple's speaker is able to tell where it is placed in a room and adjust the audio profile accordingly, communicating with its twin using a proprietary wireless peer-to-peer link to make sure your music playback is in sync.

Music and video playback can now also be controlled throughout the home from the updated control center on iPhone/iPad or Apple TV.

Hardware is usually not a big feature of WWDC but one analyst believes Beats by Dre will be unveiling a new Beats Pill speaker with Siri integration, bringing Apple's AI to a new musical market that doesn't want to spend £319 on a HomePod. AirPlay 2 is more restricted at launch.

Like the original AirPlay format, AirPlay 2 will also be built into a range of third-party wireless speakers and amplifiers from the likes of Sonos, Bang & Olufsen, Bose, Pioneer, Denon and Marantz. This might change when Sonos enables Google Assistant support in the near future.

The iOS 11.4 update also comes with the option for stereo pairs via two HomePod devices to create a wider soundstage effect. Scroll down to the list of apps with iCloud support and toggle on Messages.

Apple AirPlay 2 vs AirPlay: Which is better?

AirPlay 2 multi-room will be operated via the iOS Control Centre.

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