Shares of Roku ( ROKU 2.24% ) jumped when the company announced support for Apple ( AAPL 2.15% ) AirPlay 2 and HomeKit features in the next operating-system update. Stock prices rose as much as 6.9% on Wednesday afternoon.
Roku first unveiled plans to support Apple's smart home and digital-assistant features in late September, but users and investors were left without a launch date at the time. HomeKit smart-home controls and AirPlay 2 media services are rolling out to a select handful of Roku devices today as part of the Roku OS 9.4 update. With this upgrade, users with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac can share music and pictures directly from their Apple devices to the Roku setup in the living room.
So far, the Apple-friendly feature set is limited to high-end devices with 4K video capabilities. The updates will roll out in waves, starting with stand-alone devices, such as the Roku Premiere and Ultra, followed by Roku-powered TV sets in the coming weeks.
The addition of Apple HomeKit also adds support for the Siri digital assistant, making Roku the first media-streaming device maker to deliver support for the three leading assistant services in a single device. Roku hardware has offered support for Amazon ( AMZN 1.11% ) Alexa and Alphabet's ( GOOG 0.90% ) ( GOOGL 0.81% ) Google Assistant for years.
Roku's expanded feature set was pre-announced more than a month ago, so today's rollout shouldn't be a big surprise. Investors are basically applauding Roku today for following through on an earlier promise.