Apple HomePod launching in more countries

Saul Franklin
May 30, 2018

HomePod is available in the US, UK and Australia and arrives in Canada, France and Germany starting June 18. It, of course, has only ever demoed the Apple Music service.

iCloud support for "Messages" was one of the most talked about features during the announcement of iOS 11. HomePod users can update its software in Apple's Home app.

Besides these, the iOS 11.4 also comes with a bunch of smaller bug fixes and improvements. Users will need WiFi on their iOS device in order to download the update.

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But Apple still has a lot to do to catch up with its peers, as the company only sold 600,000 HomePod speakers in the first three months of this year, according to Strategy Analytics - figures that were dwarfed by four million Amazon Echo sales, and 2.4 million Google Home speaker sales. Check out Apple's list of third-party AirPlay 2-compatible devices. The iOS 11.4 update is around 330 MB is size. The update allows the HomePod and Apple TV (the two Apple devices that now support AirPlay 2), as well as forthcoming third-party AirPlay 2 devices, to play the same audio throughout your home or only in select areas of your home. Messages in iCloud stores all iMessages in Apple's cloud storage rather than on each individual device.

The iOS 11.4 update does more than just add new languages to HomePod though.

- “Using spatial awareness to sense their location in the room, each HomePod automatically adjusts the audio to sound great wherever it is placed and sound great together, ” said Apple. The wireless audio protocol supports multi-room and HomePod stereo-pairing. Apple released the update only a week before its WWDC annual event. Further, all your messages will appear on your new device when you sign in using the same iMessage account. Multi-room audio lets HomePods synchronize music playback in different rooms, while the other feature allows users to pair two HomePods next to each other to create stereo sound. It also supports Messages in iCloud. These speakers can be integrated seamlessly into your multi-room setup, allowing you to mix and match speakers and audio products from different brands, including Bang & Olufsen, Bluesound, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Denon, Libratone, Marantz, Marshall, Naim, Pioneer, and Sonos.

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