Apple releases iOS 11.4 with AirPlay 2

Tyler Lizenby  CNET

Along with revealing that the HomePod is making its way to Canada on June 18th for $449, Apple has also confirmed that iOS 11.4, the next update to its mobile operating system, adds AirPlay 2 multi-room audio support.

AirPlay 2 also adds multi-room audio to HomePod, bringing Apple's smartspeaker in line with Amazon Echo and Google Home.

This means that you'll be able to view, setup and control AirPlay 2 speakers, including the HomePod, using Apple's iOS Home app. In addition to using Siri or individual apps to control speaker selection and music playback, all AirPlay 2 devices available in a home will show up in iOS' Control Center. The biggest updates here are, unsurprisingly, on the streaming media front, including the arrival of AirPlay 2, and the long awaited ability to pair up two HomePods for some stereo music living room listening.

The good news continues as the list of brands already signed up to support AirPlay 2 is impressive: Bang & Olufsen; Bluesound; Bose; Bowers & Wilkins; Definitive Technologies; Denon; Devialet; Dynaudio; Libratone; Marantz; McIntosh; Marshall; Naim; Pioneer; Polk; and Sonos.

You can check out the full release notes for iOS 11.4 here.

Though HomePod's sales have reportedly been underwhelming, Apple is looking to change that by expanding the speaker's capabilities and availability outside of its initial territories.

This update supports setting up your HomePod stereo pair using your iPhone or iPad. In short, thanks to this iOS update, those who shelled out for a HomePod when it first launched will finally get something approaching what they paid for.

Messages in iCloud moves all those messages-including attachments and photos shared in those messages-from Apple devices to iCloud. That is to say, should a device be inacessible, you'll still be able to see all received messages on your other devices.

Addresses a Messages issue that could cause some messages to appear out of order.

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