Home iOS Why two Apple HomePods really are better than one

Why two Apple HomePods really are better than one

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Apple recently updated its HomePod software, introducing AirPlay 2 and support for stereo pairing. I’ve been using these features since they arrived, and this is what I think so far:

What are the improvements?

Apple’s iOS 11.4 update introduced HomePod 11.4, which brought two significant new features to HomePod systems: AirPlay 2 and stereo pairing support.

AirPlay 2

AirPlay 2 lets you control music playback around your home using Siri, HomePod and AirPlay 2 supporting speaker systems from third-party manufacturers. So long as all your systems are on the same Wi-Fi network, you get multi-room playback and controls.

The latter mean that using Siri, Control Center, or other apps, Apple Music users can assign different tracks to play through different speakers or ask all the systems to play the same track. They can even request that music move with them between rooms.

It’s more than just music – podcasts get the same treatment, so you can listen to your favorite podcast in one room while enjoying the latest Flohio mix in another. (You control volume on those different playback systems in Control Center.)

HomePod stereo pairing

If you have two HomePod units, you can now pair them for stereo audio playback. Technologically, this is much more complex than it sounds:

Not only is music streamed separately to each HomePod, but the systems must then figure out how to play the music accurately and in time – you do not want one HomePod to be a fraction of a beat ahead of the other.

Apple has successfully achieved this, developing its own wireless peer-to-peer direct link tech that brings paired HomePods into accurate sync with each other thanks to the A8-series processors inside them.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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