The HomePod mini-update allows you to become your default Apple TV speaker

Cupertino, October 6, 2021

Apple didn't even touch the HomePod line during its iPhone 13 event, but that doesn't mean smart speakers will go untouched this fall. 9to5Mac notes that an upcoming version 15 update will make the HomePod much more useful, especially if it's part of a larger smart home. For starters, you can set two or more mini HomePods as default speakers for an Apple TV 4K. You will not have to specify when it is time to sit down for a movie. They won't exactly make thunderous sounds, but they can save you from buying separate smart speakers or a more expensive sound bar.

You also don't need to approach the HomePod to use Siri. The update allows Siri voice control through acceptable HomeKit accessories. While Apple's smart ecosystem isn't nearly as big as Amazon or Google, this could be useful if you want to turn on the lights quickly.

Other improvements are more subtle, but could be valuable in the right circumstances. You can ask Siri to turn on Apple TV, play a title, and control playback. You'll automatically see the playback controls on the lock screen if a nearby HomePod mini plays music. You'll be notified if HomeKit Secure compatible cameras and sounds detect a packet at your door. This is also a great update if you've ever woken your partner or neighbors by mistake - Siri will adjust its speech volume according to both rooms , as well as your voice and you can specify a lower bass level to avoid irritating people in the apartment below.

Apple has not outlined the timing of the launch of the HomePod update, but it is likely to arrive on September 20 along with iOS 15 and watchOS 8. Don't assume that you will also receive space-saving audio or Apple Music updates without loss. The release notes don't indicate that support will be available with version 15, so you'll probably have to wait for a tracking patch to experience a more captivating HomePod sound.

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