HomePod gets first (disappointing) update

By

refurbished HomePod
audioOS 11.3 doesn't bring any cool new features to Apple's HomePod.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The software update Apple just released for the HomePod doesn’t include AirPlay 2, the most anticipated new feature. In fact, this new version doesn’t seem to have any enhancements, though maybe that’s to be expected from a smart speaker that just launched last month.

AirPlay allows you to wirelessly stream audio from your iOS device or Mac to a HomePod or other compatible speaker. With AirPlay 2, the audio can be simultaneously  streamed to more than one speaker. Plus, the new version allows multiple Apple devices to interact with the audio being streamed.

These new features would significantly improve the HomePod experience. Too bad they aren’t in audioOS 11.3, the modified version of iOS that powers Apple’s smart speaker. 

AirPlay 2 also isn’t in iOS 11.3, released for iPhone and iPad today. Apple hasn’t said when HomePod owners should expect the next audioOS update, or what it will contain. There’s haven’t yet been any public betas for iOS 11.4.

Just some bug fixes

With the major new feature MIA, what is in audioOS 11.3? Not much. 

The official changelog says that it “includes general improvements for stability and quality.” People who’ve installed the new version on their smart speaker haven’t noticed any changes.

Install audioOS 11.3 on a HomePod

Updating a Homepod to the new version requires a phone or tablet running iOS 11.3 that’s been set up to work with the smart speaker. 

Once the iPhone or iPad has been updated, go to the Home app, then tap on the Location arrow in the upper right hand corner. From there, select Software Update.