Apple's HomePod won't let you play music across multiple speakers at launch

Key Points
  • At launch, the Apple HomePod won't support the ability to play music across multiple HomePods. It also won't support stereo mode.
  • Apple says a free update that enables these functions will come later this year.
  • Competitors like Sonos already support these features.
A prototype of Apple's new HomePod is displayed during the 2017 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) at the San Jose Convention Center on June 5, 2017 in San Jose, California.
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Apple's HomePod smart speaker won't have all its advertised features when it launches in February.

For instance, it won't support the ability to play the same music across multiple units around the home. That's a function already offered by Google Home, Sonos and Amazon Echo speakers, all of which compete directly with the HomePod.

Apple's website simply says this function is "coming later this year."

The same applies for stereo playback, which means you won't be able to set up two HomePod speakers to play music in stereo mode, again a feature that's offered by Sonos. That, too, will come later this year, Apple says.

These are two important functions for folks who might be interested in owning more than one HomePod. Apple didn't explain why there's a delay in these services, but said the software update that enables them will be free.

The HomePod will be available for preorder on Friday and will ship on Feb. 9.