It’s long overdue, but Apple have just announced an update to the HomePod speaker which enables a feature which was teased just a few months ago at the launch of the HomePod in retail – Stereo Pairing as well as Multi-Room streaming.
It was one of the things almost all pundits suggested should have been there from day 1, but it’s taken a few months to get it right to from today you can update your iPhone to iOS 11.4 which will then enable a firmware upgrade for your existing HomePod.
The update allows you to create a stereo pair from two HomePods, thus giving you an enhanced listening experience. When paired, you nominate one speaker as left, one as right and they then individually tweak the audio output to enhance those left and right choices and the result is a pretty impressive sound.
I listened first at a demo in San Francisco some months ago, and then yesterday at a studio setup in Sydney. To be frank, while it’s impressive, you’ve really got to be a huge audio lover to need the stereo pairing.
In fact, it’s the multi-room capabilities of HomePod with 11.4 iOS update that are most impressive. Each HomePod can be setup in a different room, which under the new update can be joined together to play the same content, or be playing separate songs in each space.
The use of Siri on any HomePod can command the music in any room, and you can ask Siri to push the music room to room or “follow you”.
You can also move the sound from one room to another leaving the original output in silence.
It works well, the app controls allow for individual volume control of each speaker.
Perhaps most interestingly, there’s also a way now to link an Apple HomePod to a Sonos system or advanced B&O speaker. If your speaker uses AirPlay 2 it can be controlled by a HomePod on the same network. Sonos users can use a Sonos One to be the bridge between a HomePod and your Sonos system via the Sonos One – it’s an expensive solution – but it works nonetheless.
Cracking update from Apple, if you’ve got the coin for an additional HomePod.