As HomePod pre-orders began last week and some first impressions came out, we’re able to gain more knowledge about Apple’s upcoming smart speaker. One aspect of HomePod that’s gone under the radar is how the device handles software updates.
HomePod runs a special version of iOS, which means it gets new updates alongside iOS. The latest software publicly available for it is iOS 11.2.5, which will likely be the version installed on HomePods delivered on February 9th.
Software updates for HomePod will be managed through the Home app. The app will alert users when a new software update is available and will show an interface similar to the one used for iOS updates. Users will have the option to enable automatic updates, although it’s unclear how those will be managed. Updates can be installed on a single HomePod, all HomePods in the home or to specific stereo pairs (stereo pairing will not be available on HomePods running different software versions).
It also looks like Apple hardcoded iOS 11.3 to be the first version to support stereo pairing. The company could show a special alert via the Home App to notify users of the feature. That’s a pretty strong confirmation that the feature will ship alongside iOS 11.3.
HomePod will likely be updated in the same way watchOS updates do via the Apple Watch app on the iPhone, and will likely have the same update requirements (e.g. HomePod version 11.3 can’t be installed if iPhone is still on iOS 11.2.5).