Published: Wed, May 30, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Kristin Zimmerman

Hands-on: HomePod’s AirPlay 2 multi-room audio, stereo pairing, and Calendar support

Hands-on: HomePod’s AirPlay 2 multi-room audio, stereo pairing, and Calendar support

The Cupertino tech giant will let HomePod speakers pair up to deliver stereo sound after the update, and users will also be able to play one song on multiple Apple speakers throughout their home. The feature can be activated in multiple iOS devices, where your account is synced and thus makes it easier to manage message threads.

Apple's iOS 11.4 rolls out today, and it brings a big update to HomePods: AirPlay 2 with multi-room audio.

The speaker's new AirPlay 2 feature will also let users connect other internet-connected speakers, like models from Bang & Olufsen and Sonos, to the Apple HomePod so the entire group can be controlled with Siri commands. The update allows the HomePod and Apple TV (the two Apple devices that now support AirPlay 2), as well as forthcoming third-party AirPlay 2 devices, to play the same audio throughout your home or only in select areas of your home.

Messages in iCloud, meanwhile, has been even more eagerly anticipated.

Messages in iCloud moves all those messages-including attachments and photos shared in those messages-from Apple devices to iCloud. Apple TV running tvOS 11.4 will also now show up in the Home app on an iOS device as long as that device is running iOS 11.4. At the moment, only Apple TV and HomePod are AirPlay 2 enabled, but more devices are said to be coming soon.

Apple has finally released Airplay 2 – nearly one year after the announcement. If your device is going to be downloading a lot of new messages, you'll need to plug it in so that the process can take place.

For the Mac, go to Preferences within the Messages app and click the checkbox next to Enable Messages in iCloud. There've been more Messages fixes over rogue character sequences causing the app to crash, and for conversations to appear out of order. Problems in the Health app like syncing and controlling data on different apps have been fixed.

Music can originate from either an iOS device or from the Wi-Ficonnected HomePods themselves. 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.

You can download iOS 11.4 today.

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