iOS 11.4 public beta arrives with AirPlay 2

By

Apple HomePod smart speaker
AirPlay 2.0 makes HomePod even better.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

HomePod owners no longer need to be a developer to test AirPlay 2.

Apple seeded the first public beta of iOS 11.4 to testers today, allowing anyone who signs up for the beta testing program to play with some of the new features coming out later this spring.

How to create a sleep playlist for your HomePod

By

Siri speaker
Look into my eye. You are feeling sleepy…
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

This tip is less of a how-to, and more of a why-to. Did you ever think about creating a sleep playlist for your HomePod? It’s a great idea for a few reasons.

  • You can control the HomePod with your voice, from your bed.
  • The HomePod is silent when it’s not playing back audio, so you don’t have to turn it off or listen to it hiss.

Let’s see how it’s done.

Stream audio from iOS to multiple HomePods with AirFoil

By

HomePod
AirFoil is the missing link between your Mac and your HomePod.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Do you want to stream music from an app on your Mac to your HomePod? Good luck with that. The only app that supports AirPlay streaming is iTunes, and what’s the point in using that if you can stream your iCloud Music Library directly using the HomePod alone? For apps like Spotify, or VLC, you can resort to streaming your entire Mac system audio via Airplay, but then you have to listen alerts booming through the HomePod, and you can’t remote-control the Spotify Audio using Siri.

But if you use Rogue Amoeba’s AirFoil, you can fix all these problems.

20 HomePod tips you need to know

By

HomePod Tips
The HomePod is a smarter speaker than you might think.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The HomePod takes a lot of flak for being the dumbest smart speaker around, but it can do more than you might think. In today’s video, I’ll show you 20 HomePod tips you need to know.

(Just a quick heads-up: I’m going to be saying “Hey Siri” a few times in this video.)

How to adjust EQ on HomePod

By

HomePod Siri Speaker
The HomePod automatically adjusts it EQ to suit the music and the room.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Theoretically, you shouldn’t have to adjust the sound of the music playing to your HomePod. Between all the fancy music processing, and the HomePod’s ability to tailor its audio to the size and shape of your room, music should come out sounding pretty great already. But that doesn’t account for taste. Maybe you like a whole lot of extra bass? Or maybe a certain frequency is booming in your room, and the HomePod isn’t doing anything about it.

Then you should try equalization — tweaking the balance of audio frequencies put out by the speaker. The bad news is that the HomePod offers no native EQ. The good news is that it’s easy to adjust on your Mac or iPhone.

Looks like multi-room AirPlay just got further away

By

HomePod speaker
Multi-room audio won't be coming anytime soon.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

One of the best features for Apple’s new HomePod appears to be facing some big delays.

AirPlay 2.0 promises to give HomePod users the ability to stream the same song to different devices in different rooms from a single iPhone. But with the release of iOS 11.3 beta 3 this morning, Apple has decided to pull the feature from testing.

Everything you need to know about HomePod

By

HomePod news, HomePod reviews and HomePod how-tos
The HomePod may be the best speaker you can buy for under $85,000.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s HomePod arrives in homes today. It’s already sold out online, but if you’re lucky you might still snap one up in an Apple store. And you probably should, because the HomePod looks to be just about the best small speaker you can buy — in terms of musical performance, anyway.

If you want to find out how to set up and get the best of your new HomePod, or if you want to read a bit more before deciding whether to get one, you’re in the right place. Below you’ll find all our HomePod coverage: how-tos, reviews, tips and opinions.

How to connect HomePod to your Apple TV

By

homepod x-ray
HomePod makes a great soundbar for your Apple TV.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple’s HomePod is a smart speaker, but primarily it’s just a very good speaker. Siri is the (often frustrating) icing on possibly the best AirPlay speaker around.

Because the HomePod creates a wide stereo audio image, it’s also going to be great for watching movies. Today we’ll see how to hook up your HomePod to your Apple TV. Spoiler: It’s easy.

How to stream music to anybody’s HomePod

By

homepod x-ray
The HomePod is happy to be unfaithful to its original owner.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The HomePod is like the creature the emerges from an egg in old-fashioned cartoons. The baby creature — dinosaur, bird, birdosaur — imprints on the first person it sees, then follows it around calling it mama or papa. Hilarity (of the 1970s kind) ensues, as the creature grows into a fully operational birdosaur and causes mayhem. Likewise, the HomePod latches onto the first iPhone it finds, automatically, and remains faithful forever (or until you unpair it, an option not open to 1970s cartoon characters).

But you can still let your friends have a go on your HomePod if you like. Here’s how.