Apple has released iOS 11.4 update that brings with it wireless multi-room audio system using AirPlay 2 to play music in any room from any room, move music from one room to another or play the same song everywhere using an iOS device, HomePod, Apple TV or by asking Siri.
For HomePod, AirPlay 2 features are automatically supported and music can be streamed around the house without the need to manually group speakers. AirPlay 2 controls are available across iOS within any app and in Control Centre for quick access to what’s playing in every room, on every speaker.
Apple Music subscribers can also ask Siri to play different songs in different rooms or the same song everywhere, without ever leaving the room. Just like iPhone and iPad, HomePod will be able to communicate with other AirPlay 2-enabled speakers when they become available, so Siri can control music playing on speakers from Bang & Olufsen, Bluesound, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Denon, Libratone, Marantz, Marshall, Naim, Pioneer and Sonos.
HomePod, a wireless speaker from Apple now comes with support for HomePod stereo pairs and a new multi-room audio system in iOS 11.4. HomePod is available in the US, Britain and Australia and arrives in Canada, France and Germany starting June 18.
With two HomePod speakers that act as a stereo pair, these 7-inches tall speakers use spatial awareness to sense their location in the room, and each HomePod automatically adjusts the audio no matter where it is placed. With an A8 chip in each speaker, each HomePod is able to play its own audio channel — left or right — while separating out both the ambient and direct energy.
Setting up a stereo pair is simple. When a second HomePod is set up in the same room, the user is prompted whether they would like to form a stereo pair, and according to the company the process will take just few minutes. Even though these two speakers act as one, each HomePod communicates with each other so that only one speaker responds to Siri requests.
HomePod is compatible with iPhone 5s or later, iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, iPad mini 2 or later, or iPod touch (6th generation) with iOS 11.2.5 or later. Stereo and multi-room audio are available with iOS 11.4.
Another key feature in iOS 11.4 is the addition of Messages in iCloud, which syncs across all devices and deletes iMessages across everything, so you won't get quite as spammed. It also backs up iMessages so that any new device in the account can get old iMessages without restoring a backup.
“Messages in iCloud will use end-to-end encryption, and uses cloud storage instead of local storage for message archives and attachments. And it also works with SMS across devices,” Apple said in a statement.