HomePod Overview Updated January 27, 2022

HomePod

The new sound of home

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392 'HomePod' stories

May 2016 - January 2022


At its Worldwide Developer Conference in 2017, Apple officially took the wraps off of its oft-rumored speaker in the form of HomePod. The device acts as a standalone way for users to interact with Siri, play music, and more. Tim Cook touts this as Apple’s effort to “reinvent home music” just as it did with products like the iPod.

Prior to announcing Apple’s product, Phil Schiller explained that Apple has worked to take what companies like Sonos and Amazon have done and create a “breakthrough home speaker.”

Schiller explained that a successful speaker must “rock the house,” have “spatial awareness,” and “be a musicologist.”

To offer strong sound quality, the devices features a 7 tweeter array with precision acoustic horns and directional control. There’s also an Apple-designed 4-inch woofer and it’s powered by Apple’s A8 chip. It measures in at just under 7-inches tall and features a mesh design.

Here’s how Apple describes HomePod:

HomePod is a powerful speaker that sounds amazing, adapts to wherever it’s playing, and together with Apple Music, gives you effortless access to one of the world’s largest music catalogs. All controlled through natural voice interaction with Siri. It takes the listening experience to a whole new level. And that’s just the beginning.

HomePod 11.4 Software Update

HomePod

HomePod’s 11.4 update shipped with two notable features — AirPlay 2 and Stereo Pairing (originally promised at launch, but was delayed). It also included Calendar support, which lets you check, add, edit, and delete appointments to configured calendars.

AirPlay 2

The flagship feature of the 11.4 update was the long-awaited launch of AirPlay 2. The biggest advantage that AirPlay 2 brought to the table is multi-room audio support. AirPlay 2’s multi-room audio allows iOS users to stream music or podcasts to supported devices in any room using Control Center’s destination controls, in-app controls, or Siri.

With AirPlay 2 you can do things like:

  • Quickly see what’s playing in every room on every speaker
  • Play the same song, in sync, in every room
  • Play different songs on different speakers
  • Use Siri to play different songs in different rooms
  • Stream to rooms without grouping speakers

Because speakers are configured via the Home app, they are easily assigned to rooms, and users can address those specific rooms when using Siri.

Stereo Pairing in HomePod

Stereo pairing utilizes an Apple-designed wireless peer-to-peer direct link to talk with each other and play music in sync. Thanks to the A8 SoC, each HomePod is able to automatically sense its location in the room, and establish its own audio channel (left or right). In other words, there’s very little end-user configuration needed once a stereo pair is established.

The advanced beamforming provides a wider soundstage than a traditional stereo pair setup. Apple says that by stereo pairing two HomePods, an almost three-dimensional soundstage is created, providing room-filling sound with enhanced bass extension, and a deeper, more accurate reproduction of low frequencies.

Creating a HomePod stereo pair is straightforward, and when two HomePods are set up in the same room, users are automatically prompted to create a stereo pair.

HomePod Pricing

HomePod originally launched at $349, but it saw a price cut to $299 on April 4th, 2019.

Grab HomePod at low prices at Best Buy and eBay or check for the latest deals at 9to5toys.com.

HomePod mini

9to5Mac has heard rumors about a new “HomePod mini” that is expected to be announced in 2020. According to a Bloomberg report, the HomePod mini is expected to keep the same cylindrical design as the larger version, but it would be about half the current product’s size.

Apple is unlikely to sacrifice audio quality to make a cheaper version of the HomePod, but keep in mind that having less physical space means the speakers will be reduced, and consequently, the sound may be lower than in the current HomePod model.

Besides, the HomePod mini should also have Siri for voice commands and AirPlay 2 for pairing it with other compatible speakers.

Should you buy a HomePod now or wait for the HomePod mini? Read our HomePod buyer’s guide.

Top Stories

HomePod Stories Yesterday

A day after Apple released tvOS 15.3 and HomePod 15.3 to the public, the company is now seeding the first beta of tvOS 15.4 and HomePod 15.4 to developers.

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HomePod Stories January 26

Six weeks after its major software updates, Apple is now releasing tvOS 15.3 and HomePod 15.3 to all users. With these versions, the company is enabling multi-user voice recognition in more countries to its smart speakers.

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HomePod Stories January 20

Following the release of iOS 15.3 Release Candidate (RC) on Thursday, Apple has also made HomePod Software 15.3 RC available to beta users. According to the update notes, HomePod Software 15.3 enables multi-user voice recognition in India and Italy.

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HomePod Stories January 17

If you ever looked at the HomePod mini and thought it could work as a battery-powered smart speaker, you’re not alone, as a report indicates Apple discussed and prototyped a product like this.

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HomePod Stories January 10

A few nights ago, I was a few ocean wave crashes away from falling asleep when a thought populated my mind. I desperately wanted to capture the idea without breaking the dark with my iPhone screen. Easy, I have a HomePod mini in the bedroom, so I’ll just use Siri! That’s when I realized the HomePod still has a handy voice feature left to learn.

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HomePod Stories January 9

Apple has been hinting that it could launch the HomePod mini in more countries in 2022. After adding new languages support to the smart speaker, it appears that Sweden could receive the product soon.

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HomePod Stories January 3

Apple has a strange relationship with its audio products. While the original HomePod was discontinued last year, the company added new colors to the HomePod mini family in October and finally launched Lossless and Dolby Atmos support to these products. Unfortunately, there’s still a major issue Apple needs to address, which is AirPlay reliability when connecting multiple HomePods.

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HomePod Stories December 13, 2021

Following the release of iOS 15.2, tvOS 15.2 and other software updates, Apple on Monday also released HomePod Software 15.2. In addition to adding support for Apple Music Voice Plan, the update enables Dutch and Russian languages for Siri on the HomePod, suggesting that HomePod mini is coming soon to more countries.

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HomePod Stories December 6, 2021

The original HomePod was released by Apple back in 2018 and was ultimately discontinued in March of this year. Now, it’s dying a very slow and very sad death, and I’m starting to wonder if we (or Apple?) might have taken it for granted all along. Hear me out on this one.

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HomePod Stories November 9, 2021

A few months ago my original HomePod died. Its early death was likely an unfortunate side effect of a bad software update. And since Apple no longer sells the original HomePod after discontinuing it early this year, the only option is to buy a HomePod mini, buy a used HomePod, or look elsewhere entirely.

Though it doesn’t possess the amazing sound quality of the original HomePod, the HomePod mini is a good smart speaker, and is better than the original in other ways. With last week’s release of three additional HomePod mini colors, I thought it was a good time to revisit some of the best HomePod mini features.

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HomePod Stories November 3, 2021

Apple is releasing HomePod 15.1.1 Software to all users today. This update comes a few days after the company seeded version 15.1.1 of tvOS.

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HomePod Stories November 1, 2021

After Apple released the new MacBook Pro and AirPods 3, the last thing people were expecting to be available was the HomePod mini in new colors. While we still don’t have a release date for the new colors, new videos today showcase them in the real world.

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HomePod Stories October 25, 2021

Apple released today HomePod 15.1 Software with the long-awaited Lossless and Dolby Atmos support. While both the HomePod and HomePod mini support Lossless, if you want to listen to Spatial Audio with the HomePod mini, there’s a hidden workaround…

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HomePod Stories October 18, 2021

Apple is seeding today the RC versions of tvOS 15.1 and HomePod 15.1 to developers. Here’s everything new with it.

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HomePod Stories October 14, 2021

HomePod was announced in 2017, but Apple’s smart speaker never really became popular. This lack of popularity saw the HomePod mini replacing the original model. However, Apple doesn’t seem to have given up on HomePod, as the company has now hired a new Head of HomePod Software.

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HomePod Stories October 6, 2021

One week after releasing tvOS 15.1 beta 2, Apple is now seeding the third beta of tvOS to developers. Here’s everything new with it.

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HomePod Stories September 29, 2021

Update: Apple is now releasing tvOS 15.1 beta 2 to public beta testers. Not only that, but the company is also seeding beta 2 of HomePod 15.1 to selected developers.

One week after releasing tvOS 15.1 beta 1, Apple is now seeding the second beta of tvOS to developers. Here’s everything new with it.

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HomePod Stories September 21, 2021

HomePod 15.1 beta 1 brings back Lossless and Dolby Atmos support

One day after releasing iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and tvOS 15, Apple again started its beta cycle with the point one update to all of these operating systems. HomePod, of course, was also updated with HomePod Software Version 15.1 beta 1, and it’s finally bringing back Lossless and Dolby Atmos with Spatial Audio support.

HomePod Stories September 20, 2021

After three months of testing, Apple is now releasing tvOS 15 and HomePod 15 to the public. This means anyone with an Apple TV HD (or newer) and HomePod or HomePod mini can download this update.

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HomePod Stories September 15, 2021

After its “California Streaming” event, Apple announced it was releasing iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and watchOS 8 to the public on September 20. Now, the company has confirmed that tvOS 15 and HomePod 15 will launch alongside the other operating systems on Monday…

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During the WWDC21 keynote in June, Apple almost didn’t mention tvOS 15. And if the Apple TV software was almost forgotten, what could we say about HomePod 15, which is a variation of the tvOS operating system?

Luckily, with the Release Candidate version of HomePod 15, we are able to confirm everything new coming to Apple’s smart speakers starting next week.

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Apple TV and HomePod gain support for Italian Siri with tvOS 15

Apple promised that it will release the HomePod mini in Italy in 2021. While a launch date is still unknown, at least the RC version of tvOS 15 shows that both Apple TV and HomePod will now support Siri speaking Italian.

HomePod Stories September 7, 2021

After Apple announced the September event for the iPhone 13 next week, the company is now seeding tvOS 15 beta 9 and HomePod 15 beta 9 to developers.

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HomePod Stories August 12, 2021

Spatial Audio and Lossless support are coming to Apple Music on HomePod and HomePod mini. With HomePod 15 beta 5, Apple has added a new toggle dedicated to Dolby Atmos within the Home app.

Although not everyone running the latest beta will be able to find it, as some people never saw the Lossless toggle in previous betas, it shows that Apple is working on launching Dolby Atmos and Lossless support together on HomePod.

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