Apple HomePod, Apple’s smart speaker powered by Siri, has received an update for better home audio system along with the release of the new operating system iOS 11.4.
The reason behind the improvement is AirPlay 2, Apple’s better wireless home audio system. It supports multi-room audio playback as well as better audio experiences using several speakers at the same time.
With multi-room audio playback, homeowners can stream multiple speakers in various rooms, creating a full-house music experience. This feature doesn’t support only Apple HomePod or Apple TV, but also devices of third-party manufacturers that use AirPlay 2, such as Bose, Sonos and Bang & Olufsen.
For a better audio experience, users can also link two HomePod speakers together via AirPlay 2 to leverage a better audio effect.
AirPlay 2 uses a different streaming system from Google Cast. The former streams music directly from a user’s phone rather than the cloud. The later relies most streaming on the cloud.
Other smart speakers, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, have already supported multi-room audio. HomePod’s direct competitor, the Google Home Max, also supports stereo pairing.
The delayed release of AirPlay 2 allows Apple to stay competitive in the smart speaker market.
In the same announcement, Apple said it will launch HomePod in Canada, France and Germany on June 18. The company will also add language support in HomePod for Canadian English, French and German.
Apple will hold its annual developer conference WWDC 2018 in June. New operating systems including iOS and macOS as well as improvements on Siri are expected to be unveiled at the event.