Apple’s latest iOS update brings a bunch of new features to the company’s Homepod smart speaker: iOS 11.4, as the latest version of the company’s mobile operating system is officially called, finally makes it possible to pair two Homepod speakers in stereo mode.
That’s thanks to a major update for Airplay, the company’s wireless media sharing technology. Airplay 2 also makes it possible to stream the same song to multiple Homepods, or other Airplay 2-compatible speakers, around the home – a feature that’s also known as multi-room audio.
Apple first announced those features when it introduced the Homepod at its WWDC conference last June. However, the Homepod didn’t support stereo pairing or multi-room audio when it launched in February.
The update brings the Homepod on par with other smart speakers, including those made by Google and Sonos, which have been supporting these kind of pairing features for some time.
The introduction of Airplay 2 also sets Apple up for further partnerships with other speaker makers. Sonos, Bose and others have already announced that they want to bring Airplay 2 to new and existing speaker models.
There have also been some rumors that Apple may be following up with the introduction of a smaller and more affordable version of the Homepod. A possible introduction date for the device would be next week, when the company will once again hold WWDC in San Jose, Calif.