HomePod Overview Updated August 11, 2022

HomePod

The new sound of home

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417 'HomePod' stories

May 2016 - August 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 August 11

Apple’s smart speaker HomePod has been available on the market for some time now, but it has never been considered a success like iPhone, Apple Watch, or even AirPods. Still, rumors suggest that Apple has been working on new HomePod models. While having new HomePods would be great, I believe Apple should focus on improving the software on the current HomePods.

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HomePod Stories August 7

Apple could be readying a new high-end HomePod, an updated HomePod mini, as well as two other home devices that could see the light of the day around the end of 2023 or early 2024, according to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter.

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HomePod Stories July 20

HomePod Software 15.6 has just been released – and there’s actually news on what’s changed with this operating system. Starting with it, Apple is adding three new languages with voice recognition support.

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HomePod Stories July 11

iOS 16 is finally available for registered users in the Apple Beta Software Program along with iPadOS 16, watchOS 9, tvOS 16, and macOS Ventura. However, for the first time, Apple has also made HomePod Software 16 beta available to users. Read on as we detail how to install HomePod Software 16 public beta on your HomePod.

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Apple is seeding the first public beta of HomePod Software 16 for the HomePod mini. While OG HomePod owners won’t be able to try the beta version now, the software will be available later this fall to all Apple smart speakers owners. This release comes alongside the revised build of iOS 16 and macOS 13 Ventura, and the public beta versions of all the upcoming operating systems Apple is readying for later this fall.

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HomePod Stories June 27

Evidence is mounting that Apple is planning a new version of the original, full-size HomePod that was released in 2018 and discontinued in 2021. Reports now indicate that Apple is planning to release a new version of the HomePod next year to fill the void left by Apple’s first smart speaker.

With the original HomePod still selling for a premium via aftermarket sellers, how much would you pay for a new version?

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One of the things Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported in his latest newsletter is that Apple is working on a new HomePod model, which will look and sound similar to the original.

That’s somewhat surprising, as Apple discontinued the 1st-gen model well over a year ago, though it took quite some time to sell its existing stock. So why would Apple relaunch a commercially unsuccessful product, and what could have a similar one succeed? I suspect three factors …

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HomePod Stories June 26

A new HomePod is coming, according to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman. In his latest edition of the Power On newsletter, the journalist says Apple is readying a new smart speaker for next year, which will look and sound similar to the original version discontinued a year ago.

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HomePod Stories June 22

Apple on Wednesday released iOS 16 beta 2 to developers, two weeks after the first beta release of iOS 16 announced at WWDC 2022. The update brings several tweaks across the system, and interestingly, it also adds a new menu for managing HomePod beta Software in the Home app.

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HomePod Stories June 6

Apple today released the first beta of iOS 16 to developers, and it comes with a bunch of new features – including a completely redesigned lock screen with widgets, revamped notifications, iMessage improvements, and more. And it also hints at a new HomePod model that may be coming soon.

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Apple today announced new versions of its operating systems at WWDC 2022, which includes iOS 16, macOS 13, tvOS 16, and watchOS 9. And every year, Apple makes its beta software available to developers and public beta users ahead of the official release in the fall, except for HomePod Software. This year, HomePod Software 16 will be available to public beta users for the first time.

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HomePod Stories May 21

With Apple discontinuing the original HomePod last year, users were eager for a new iteration of the company’s bigger smart speaker. Although its mini version is slowly expanding globally, it feels that Apple’s audio ecosystem is lacking a more powerful speaker.

With new rumors around, it’s possible that the company will soon unveil a new HomePod. Here’s what we know so far.

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HomePod Stories May 20

HomePod, Apple’s smart speaker, has some great features when it comes to pairing multiple speakers together. Thanks to AirPlay 2, users can play the same audio on different HomePods around the house or even use a stereo pair as standard Apple TV speakers. However, there’s one thing that I still miss about the HomePod, and that’s a true surround mode.

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Apple is gearing up to launch a new version of its HomePod smart speaker, according to reliable supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple currently sells the $99 HomePod mini as the only model. The original HomePod with much more impressive sound was discontinued last year after a price cut from $349 to $299.

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HomePod Stories May 18

With just a few weeks to go until WWDC 2022, Apple has just released iOS 15.6 beta 1 to developers. In addition, the company has also made available the first betas of tvOS 15.6, watchOS 8.7, and HomePod Software 15.6.

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HomePod Stories May 16

Following the release of iOS 15.5 and macOS Monterey 12.4 to all users, Apple on Monday also made tvOS 15.5, watchOS 8.6, and HomePod Software 15.5 available to the public. The updates bring overall improvements with no major changes.

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HomePod Stories April 20

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 March 14

After a few weeks of testing, Apple is finally releasing tvOS 15.4 and HomePod 15.4 to all users. After a small 15.3 update, this one is full of new features for Apple TV and HomePod users.

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HomePod Stories March 8

tvOS 15.4 and HomePod 15.4 RC version now available, here’s everything new

After five beta versions with lots of new features, Apple is finally seeding tvOS 15.4 and HomePod 15.4 RC to developers ahead of next week’s final release.

HomePod Stories March 1

Apple is now seeding beta 5 of tvOS 15.4 and HomePod 15.4. Here’s what’s new with these operating systems, set to be released in the coming weeks.

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HomePod Stories February 23

There is more news regarding Siri and the latest HomePod 15.4 beta 4 as Apple is also adding Dutch voice recognition for the personal assistant on its smart speaker. With that, it seems like a matter of time until the company finally releases the HomePod mini in the Netherlands.

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HomePod Stories February 22

Another week, another beta is available as Apple is now seeding beta 4 of tvOS 15.4 and HomePod 15.4. Here’s what’s new with these operating systems.

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HomePod Stories February 16

Update: Public beta testers can now download the third test version of tvOS 15.4. HomePod 15.4 is still limited to selected developers to try.

A week after releasing beta 2 of tvOS 15.4 and HomePod 15.4, Apple is now seeding the third beta of these operating systems to developers.

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HomePod Stories February 11

A few months ago, I wrote a piece lamenting the slow and sad demise of the original HomePod. This week marks four years since the original HomePod was released, and the fate of Apple’s smart home efforts are just unclear as they were then. Here’s what we know about what the future holds…

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