When Apple first unveiled the HomePod at WWDC last year, it boasted about the multi-room audio and stereo speaker support on the device. Nearly seven months after it initially unveiled the product, Apple has finally provided a release date for its Siri-powered smart speaker. But as it turns out, the smart speaker is still missing out on some of its promised features despite its delayed release.
Apple mentioned in its press release that multi-room audio support and stereo support for multiple HomePod speakers will be making their way to its smart speaker through a software update later this year. The first feature i.e. multi-room audio will allow users to play the same or different music on the different HomePod speakers placed throughout their home. This feature is particularly popular among Sonos speakers. Below is how Apple explains the feature:
If HomePod is in the kitchen, users can ask Siri to play jazz in the dining room, or play the same song in each room — perfectly in sync.
As for stereo speaker support, it will allow users to pair multiple HomePod speakers together as a stereo pair for an even better and immersive sound experience. Disappointingly, despite leaks pointing to multi-user support, HomePod does not have multi-user support at launch which is a bummer.
Apple’s press release also provides some other interesting details about the HomePod. Similar to its iPhone, the smart speaker features always-on “Hey Siri” functionality which works locally on the device. After this, any data sent to Apple servers are encrypted and anonymized for optimum security and privacy.
Additionally, Apple also confirmed that it would be launching HomePod in France and Germany in spring of this year. The press release from the company does not mention any other markets where HomePod might launch this year, though we may see the company expand the availability of the speaker at WWDC 2018 or in September when it unveils its new iPhones.
Do you plan on pre-ordering the $349 HomePod this Friday?