HomePod Overview Updated May 21, 2022

HomePod

The new sound of home

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406 'HomePod' stories

May 2016 - May 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 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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HomePod Stories February 9

Update: Apple just released the public beta of tvOS 15.4 beta 2 to all users.

Apple is seeding today tvOS 15.4 beta 2 to Apple TV developers. Not only that, but the company is also releasing the second beta version of HomePod 15.4.

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HomePod Stories February 2

I’ve owned a HomePod since the original $349 speaker arrived in Apple Stores four years ago. However, a lot has changed since 2018, including the demise of that smart speaker in favor of the more affordable HomePod mini.

No matter which HomePod you have, it’s easy to forget what all it can do since it’s primarily controlled by voice. You’re likely to learn something new by periodically checking what HomePod can do with voice control.

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HomePod Stories January 27

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 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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