IT'S SAFE TO SAY Apple's HomePod hasn't taken the world by storm like the iPhone or iPad, but iOS 11.4 looks set to try and change that.
How, you may ask? Well, the update brings with it stereo audio and multi-room support to Apple's rather immaculately-designed, Siri-powered smart speaker.
While the HomePod was praised for its pretty much excellent audio and clever sound balancing tech, for £349 it was missing key features speakers that the Google Home, Amazon Echo and Sonos One offer out of the box.
But iOS 11.4 has come to fill in those gaps, now allowing for two HomePods to be paired together in a stereo format - probably only worth doing if you don't live in a pokey London flat, and adding support for multi-room audio.
So people with deep enough pockets to have several HomePods can enjoy their Apple Music playlists throughout their property; we don't suggest having a HomePod in your broom cupboard or pantry though as Jeeves, when going about his routine, might not appreciate having Jay-Z recollect his problematic life that's surprisingly female stress-free for a rapper.
The new iOS update also brings with it AirPlay 2 that not only allows Apple fanatics to connect to multiple HomePods but alls allows Siri to play nice with non-Apple smart speakers. But Siri is arguably the dumbest of the smart assistants, so if your smart speaker has Alexa or the Google Assistant it's probably best to stick with them.
Apple has also been tight-lipped on how many HomePods AirPlay 2 will support, so there may be a limit if you have a mansion to fill with Apple Music tunes being piped out of Cupertino's costly smart speaker.
Either way, iOS 11.4 makes the HomePod a more compelling purchase for Apple Music users well invested in the iOS ecosystem. For serial Spotify and other music service users, the HomePod's walled garden approach remains a less than essential smart speaker, with the Sonos One being the wise choice for platform agnostic people who want a smart speaker with impressive audio chops. µ
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