Apple Releases New Beta Software for HomePod

Tuesday January 23, 2018 9:34 AM PST by Juli Clover

Alongside this morning's release of the new iOS 11.2.5 update, which introduces support for the HomePod, Apple has also released new beta software for HomePod.

The new software is not available through the Developer portal like a standard beta software update, but it will be downloadable by testers who have a HomePod. It is available via third-party software sites, so the general public can download it if desired.


Apple's latest HomePod software update comes just over two weeks ahead of the official launch date of the device. Apple this morning announced plans to debut the HomePod on Friday, February 9, with initial orders to kick off on Friday, January 26.

Ahead of launch, HomePod devices are in the hands of Apple employees who are testing the smart speaker to iron out bugs before it becomes available for purchase later this week.

Apple has been beta testing the HomePod with its employees for several months now and has released several previous firmware updates.

Once the HomePod is released, it will presumably get regular software updates much like iOS devices, Macs, the Apple TV, and the Apple Watch.

Specifically, Apple has promised a future update that will bring support for multi-room playback and pairing multiple HomePod devices together for stereo sound, two features that will not be available at launch.

HomePod is Apple's Siri-based smart speaker that focuses heavily on high-quality sound. It incorporates a 7 tweeter array, an Apple-designed 4-inch upward-facing woofer, and an A8 chip to power features like spatial awareness.

A lot of new information was shared about HomePod this morning, so make sure to check out our HomePod roundup for complete details on Apple's smart speaker.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

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29 months ago
"Apple has been beta testing the HomePod with its employees for several months now", and now they are ready for their customers to do the same.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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29 months ago
I cannot believe they are releasing this without Stereo and multi-room support.

I bet the guys over at Sonos are rolling on the floor laughing

Edit for spelling
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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29 months ago
I can’t get over how these companies are releasing the hardware without all of the software features worked out. It’s not just Apple, but I am disappointed Apple is getting a bit frumpy and sloppy like the rest.

I’ve got all these portrait modes that work rather awkwardly for months. I’m not paying such high prices to beta test this stuff. I want it to just work when I actually bought the item, not when it’s time to think about upgrading.

Grumpy rant over. ;)

I’m actually not that salty about it, but I am not liking this trend.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
29 months ago
Interesting blurb from Reddit (per loopinsight.com)

[LIST=1]
* They're using some form of dynamic modeling, and likely also current sensing that allows them to have a p-p excursion of 20 mm in a 4" driver. This is completely unheard of in the home market. You can read an introduction to the topic here ('http://www.audioxpress.com/article/louder-faithful-and-consistent-using-digital-signal-processing-to-improve-loudspeaker-performance'). The practical upshot is that that 4" driver can go louder than larger drivers, and with significantly less distortion. It's also stuff you typically find in speakers with five-figure price tags (The Beolab 90 does this, and I also suspect that the Kii Three does). It's a quantum leap over what a typical passive speaker does, and you don't really even find it in higher-end powered speakers


* The speaker uses six integrated beamforming microphones to probe the room dimensions, and alter its output so it sounds its best wherever it is placed in the room. It'll know how large the room is, and where in the room it is placed.


* The room correction applied after probing its own position isn't simplistic DSP of frequency response, as the speaker has seven drivers that are used to create a beamforming speaker array,. so they can direct specific sound in specific directions. The only other speakers that do this is the Beolab 90, and Lexicon SL-1. The Beolab 90 is $85,000/pair, and no price tag is set for the Lexicon, but the expectation in the industry is "astronomical".

Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
29 months ago
First they announce it 6 months before its official launch, which is an unusually long cycle for a music accessory. Then they miss their own date by almost two months. Then they delay a pretty key feature (multi room audio) for, potentially, many additional months.

This ineptitude is appalling but it’s becoming the New Normal under Tim Cook. What is going on over there? Cook seems a lot more focused on politics and championing illegal immigrants than the basic nuts and bolts of disciplined, competent product delivery (AirPods that sell out before Christmas, late accessories for the IPhone X like the charging pad, missing features in major OS deliveries, years without major updates on MacBook Pro and Mac Pro, etc etc).

Wall Street hasn’t quite noticed the slow rot going on over there, but it eventually will and then it’s going to be a very very unpleasant — but deserved — experience for Mediocre Cook.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
29 months ago
Any iPhone XS Plus leaks included? :D
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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