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With new updates, Apple’s HomePod is ready to take on Sonos now

With new updates, Apple’s HomePod is ready to take on Sonos now
[Photo: courtesy of Apple]

Apple is updating its HomePod speaker today with multi-room audio and stereo mode. The former allows for synchronized audio across multiple HomePods or other AirPlay 2-compatible speakers throughout the home, while the latter allows two HomePod speakers to create a wider stereo effect in a single room. Apple announced both features last year, but they weren’t ready in time for HomePod’s February launch.

[Photo: courtesy of Apple]
Setting up these features won’t come cheap, given that each HomePod speaker costs $349. Rival Sonos sells a pair of Sonos One speakers for just $30 more, and they work with Amazon’s superior Alexa voice assistant (and, eventually, Google Assistant) instead of Siri. Meanwhile, Amazon and Google sell their own smart speakers–all of which support whole-home audio–for as little as $50.

Apple has pitched HomePod as a superior smart speaker for audiophiles and Apple Music subscribers, and the new features might help with that, but so far the audio quality angle hasn’t resonated. A report by Strategy Analytics estimated that Apple sold just 600,000 HomePods in their debut quarter. During the same period, Amazon reportedly shipped 4 million Echo speakers, and Google reportedly shipped 2.4 million Home speakers, adding to the tens of millions they’ve sold already.

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