Today Apple is releasing iOS 11.4 and finally bringing AirPlay 2 out of beta. The update brings the much anticipated multi-room audio support along with stereo pairing to Apple TV and the HomePod.
Multi-room support means you can play the same music on multiple HomePods or Apple TVs in different rooms, simultaneously. And you’ll be able to ask Siri to play a given song in the bedroom or in the living room.
With AirPlay 2 you’ll be able to add supported speakers to the Home app to use alongside HomePod. Currently Sonos is working on adding AirPlay 2 support to its speakers.
Stereo pairing allows you to play through HomePods simultaneously. And Apple has developed algorithms to deliver balanced sound.
Both multi-room audio support as well as stereo pairing are features the Google Home and Amazon Alexa speakers have long had. It’s important for Apple to bring the HomePod and Apple TV up to speed, especially as the HomePod is about to launch in Canada, France and Germany next month on June 18.
With the new iOS 11.4 firmware you’ll be able to ask Siri for upcoming calendar appointments or ask her to create one. The update also brings iMessage in the Cloud – you can have iMessages read to you from any of your Apple devices and deleting a message from one will delete it on all others.
Apple’s WWDC conference kicks off next week and will bring iOS 12. Here’s what we expect and what we wish for.