Apple will release an update to its smart speaker, HomePod, today. Picture: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP
Apple will release an update to its smart speaker, HomePod, today. Picture: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP

Why your HomePod will get smart

APPLE will turn up the volume on its smart speakers today with a much-anticipated software upgrade for its HomePod almost four months after it was released in Australia.

The Cupertino tech giant will let HomePod speakers pair up to deliver stereo sound after the update, and users will also be able to play one song on multiple Apple speakers throughout their home.

The new Apple HomePod lets users stream music or ask Siri questions. Picture: AAP Image/Josh Woning.
The new Apple HomePod lets users stream music or ask Siri questions. Picture: AAP Image/Josh Woning.

The update will also make Siri smarter, as the voice assistant will finally be able to add and check calendar appointments, like rival smart speakers from Amazon and Google.

But Apple still has a lot to do to catch up with its peers, as the company only sold 600,000 HomePod speakers in the first three months of this year, according to Strategy Analytics - figures that were dwarfed by four million Amazon Echo sales, and 2.4 million Google Home speaker sales.

The latest HomePod update, available with iOS 11.4, will be rolled out to Apple devices progressively, and will fulfil promises Apple made when it launched HomePod in February.

Once updated, users will be able to wirelessly link two HomePod speakers to play a song in stereo, though they will also be able to play a song on HomePods in multiple rooms, or move song's playback from the kitchen to the bedroom, for example.

The speaker's new AirPlay 2 feature will also let users connect other internet-connected speakers, like models from Bang & Olufsen and Sonos, to the Apple HomePod so the entire group can be controlled with Siri commands.

Apple's update will arrive amid rumours the company plans to unveil a second, smaller HomePod at its annual developers conference, WWDC, in San Jose next week.

Apple's HomePod is currently the most expensive smart speaker on the market, with a price tag of $499, though a new model is expected to come at a lower cost.



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