HomePod mini update lets it become your default Apple TV speaker

Just don't expect lossless or spatial audio in the very near future.

Nathan Ingraham/Engadget

Apple didn't even touch on the HomePod line during its iPhone 13 event, but that doesn't mean the smart speakers will go untouched this fall. 9to5Mac notes an impending version 15 update will make the HomePod considerably more useful, particularly if it's part of a larger smart home. To start, you can set two or more HomePod minis as your default speakers for an Apple TV 4K. You won't have to specify them when it's time to sit down for a movie. They won't exactly produce thunderous audio, but they could save you from buying separate smart speakers or a pricier soundbar.

You also won't have to approach your HomePod to use Siri. The update enables Siri voice control through supporting HomeKit accessories. While Apple's smart home ecosystem isn't nearly as large as Amazon's or Google's, that could be handy if you want to quickly turn the lights on.

Other improvements are subtler, but could be valuable in the right circumstances. You can ask Siri to turn on your Apple TV, play a title and control playback. You'll automatically see playback controls on your lock screen if a nearby HomePod mini is playing music. You'll get notifications if compatible HomeKit Secure Video cameras and doorbells detect a package at your door. This is also a big update if you've ever woken your partner or neighbors by mistake — Siri will adjust its speaking volume based on both the room and your own voice, and you can specify a lower bass level to avoid irritating people in the apartment below.

Apple didn't outline the HomePod update's release timing, but it's likely to arrive on September 20th alongside iOS 15 and watchOS 8. Don't assume you'll get the vaunted spatial audio or Apple Music lossless updates, however. The release notes don't indicate support will be available with version 15, so you'll likely have to wait for a follow-up patch to experience more immersive HomePod sound.