Forget HomePod mini — the standard HomePod is getting this huge upgrade

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple HomePod users watching their favorite content on their Apple TV 4K device will soon be able to enjoy TV and movies with Dolby Atmos audio.

Apple plans to release a software for the HomePod that will allow Apple’s smart speaker to  support both Dolby Atmos as well as 5.1 and 7.2 channel audio. The Verge reported the pending update, though there’s no timeframe on when it’s arriving.

The new feature would be a tidy option for anyone looking for a better audio solution who doesn’t want to invest in multiple surround sound speakers to complete the effect. 

The feature, meant to work with dual HomePod speakers positioned in a room, can also work solo with one device. Apple says the feature works best with two HomePod speakers paired up, though.

Dolby Atmos support has been confirmed just as iOS 14.2 and tvOS 14.2 beta 3 add support for using your HomePod as a speaker output for your Apple TV. You can opt to leave this option as long as is necessary, just like a receiver or headphone audio option without having to change things back and forth.

This is a feature that the Amazon Echo Studio has already offered supported, as it has allowed Dolby Atmos options for Fire TV device users since late 2019. Apple has been a bit late to the game in this respect, but it looks like the company is finally ready to start taking notes and start applying them to its current lineup of home products -- except for, of course, its latest release.

Apple just debuted the HomePod mini, its new $99 Siri-equipped smart speaker. The HomePod mini won't be compatible with the 5.1 and 7.1 channel audio options to bring Dolby Atmos sound to life. Still, the new speaker does look interesting enough, as it's a rounded speaker that barely resembles the old HomePod, but you'll happen to be missing out on all the features you could have with the old HomePod if you adopt the new one, oddly enough.

Still, if you're interested in making the switch to the new HomePod mini without the audio bells and whistles Apple’s software update will deliver to the HomePod, the new speaker will be available starting Nov. 16. And you’ll pay less than the $299 outlets are charging for the larger speaker.

Brittany Vincent

Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for over 13 years for publications including Tom's Guide, MTV, Rolling Stone, CNN, Popular Science, Playboy, IGN, GamesRadar, Polygon, Kotaku, Maxim, and more. She's also appeared as a panelist at video game conventions like PAX East and PAX West and has coordinated social media for companies like CNET. When she's not writing or gaming, she's looking for the next great visual novel in the vein of Saya no Uta. You can follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake.