IOS 11.4 Update Brings Messages in iCloud & AirPlay 2 Support

Tyler Lizenby  CNET

Tyler Lizenby CNET

HomePod is available in the US, UK and Australia and arrives in Canada, France and Germany starting June 18. HomePod 11.4 also brings stereo pairing to HomePod speakers, allowing users to set up two of them in a stereo configuration.

There's, of course, the Apple HomePod.

Here's a complete tutorial on how you can enable Messages in iCloud in iOS 11 / iOS 11.4 and how you can use it too. HomePod users can update its software in Apple's Home app.

Apple has finally released Airplay 2 – nearly one year after the announcement. Tap there, and the iOS 11.4 update should be waiting for you to download just by following the onscreen prompts. While listening to music, all you need do is select or unselect where the music is playing, or you can ask Siri to play music in a room, a group of rooms, or everywhere in the home, much like Sonos's existing offering.

Right now Amazon's Alexa smart assistant can also control third-party speakers like Sonos, while you can't ask Google Assistant via Google Home speaker to play music to a Sonos speaker. Apple says this will deliver "room-filling sound that is more spacious than a traditional stereo pair" In this "each HomePod automatically adjusts the audio to sound great wherever it is placed and sound great together", according to the company. First and foremost, iOS 11.4 adds "Messages on iCloud", which Apple first announced late previous year.

But Messages in Cloud didn't make it to the initial release of iOS 11 last September, and while it's shown up in a few betas since then, Apple has never rolled out the feature to the public at large.

The new update also adds support for Apple's new ClassKit framework.

Apple's HomePod is now the most expensive smart speaker on the market, with a price tag of $499, though a new model is expected to come at a lower cost.

The iOS 11.4 update also comes with the option for stereo pairs via two HomePod devices to create a wider soundstage effect. Here's the full list of brands offering early support: Sonos, Denon and Marantz, Bose, Bang and Olufsen, Beats, Naim, Devialet, Dynaudio, Polk, McIntosh, Bowers & Wilkins, Libratone, Definitive Technology, and Bluesound.

Anyone with a compatible Apple TV or Apple Watch is able to grab the latest tvOS and watchOS OTA updates right now from the respective update mechanisms found on the respective devices themselves.

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