While the newly launched HomePod Mini is currently in the spotlight, owners of the original, larger HomePod will also be surprised.
If you’ve already bought the larger unit, a software update will make it usable as surround speakers – likely in the coming weeks – including 5.1, 7.1, or even Dolby Atmos surround.
It works when you only have a single speaker. However, if you place one on either side of your TV, you get the full “spatial sound experience” that you get from Atmos, where you as an object are placed in the soundscape and which causes noise all around.
This can be used in a nearly infinite number of speakers to create that truly ambient sound, but the HomePod can simulate this ̵
These are beam-shaping drives, which means they can capture their surroundings and adjust the audio accordingly. This means they can separate sound elements to create this immersive experience.
Two become one
If you’ve chosen two HomePod smart speakers over the years, you’ll get wider sound by placing them on either side of the TV. The couple can connect with each other and, as partners, fill your space with Atmos-based audio.
Given that Apple has recently been offering its iTunes movies upscaled to Atmos and 4K HDR for free, chances are you already have content that can take advantage of this power – and if not, almost all streaming services can be use them to get the more basic surround sound effect.
It is interesting that the new HomePod Mini can be connected to a mini device other than stereo speakers, but it cannot create surround sound or connect as part of a 5.1 system as a satellite speaker.
Apple hasn’t confirmed when the software will be made available to allow the HomePod to act as a virtual soundbar. However, we assume that it will appear in the relatively near future.
It’s also unclear why it took so long to enable this feature, given that the HomePod started with the beamforming drivers and Apple has had a range of Dolby Atmos content for a long time – however, like the AirPods Pro, it was in Lately busy enabling spatial audio on a range of devices, so this is likely another step on the way.