HomePod Updates Will Be Installed Over-the-Air Using the Home App
When the HomePod launches, it will receive regular updates much like Apple's iOS devices, Macs, Apple TVs, and Apple Watch models. Apple hasn't shared details on how these updates will be installed, but some digging into the iOS code by 9to5Mac has revealed that updates will be available via Apple's dedicated Home app for HomeKit devices.
As we learned before the launch of the HomePod, the speaker runs a version of iOS, and it's actually a lot like an iPhone sans display. Because it's running an iOS variant, we can expect the HomePod to receive updates right alongside iOS devices.
Apple employees have been testing the HomePod for months, and in that time, Apple has released several software updates for the device. The latest updates have indeed coincided with iOS releases, and the last HomePod software update came when iOS 11.2.5 was released. When it launches on February 9, the HomePod will likely be running its own dedicated version of iOS 11.2.5.
When a new software update is released for the HomePod, users will receive an alert and will likely be directed to the Home app to install it, similar to how Apple Watch updates are installed through the Watch app. HomePod will be listed as an available HomeKit device in the Home app.
As with the Apple TV, there will be a setting to enable automatic HomePod updates, and updates will be available for either a single HomePod or multiple HomePods if you have more than one.
The first update to the HomePod may be iOS 11.3, and that update is expected to introduce key features Apple wasn't able to make available ahead of its launch. When the HomePod launch date was announced, Apple said multi-room audio and support for pairing two or more HomePods together for stereo sound, two features requiring the not-yet-implemented AirPlay 2 protocol, would come in an update set to be released later this year.
Apple implemented AirPlay 2 features in iOS 11.3, which suggests we won't be waiting too long to see new functionality in the HomePod. iOS 11.3 is expected to see a spring launch, which means anytime between March 20 and June 21, if we're going by the dates for spring 2018 in the Northern Hemisphere.
HomePod is available for purchase from Apple for $349, and the first HomePod orders will be in the hands of customers on February 9, the official launch date for the device.
Over the course of the last week, we've learned several new details about the HomePod from hands-on first impressions and additional information released by Apple, so make sure to check out our HomePod roundup for an updated overview of the speaker with everything you need to know about it.