Apple's iOS 11.4 could finally make the HomePod worth buying

Tyler Lizenby  CNET

HomePod is available in the US, UK and Australia and arrives in Canada, France and Germany starting June 18.

Aside from that, iOS 11.4 also brings AirPlay 2 support. Rather than just asking Siri to play music on single HomePod in one room, they can also ask her to play the music to a collection of speakers such as "upstairs" or "everywhere".

Apple's is also streamlining its iMessage service, which can now be backed up through its iCloud data service to sync all messages across your devices.

Apple officially released the next version of iOS 11.4 to users today bef0re its Apple WWDC event.

Note that you can play music from Apple Music (or your downloaded music collection) on your iPhone, or tell Siri running on the HomePods to play this song or that. Airplay 2 also helps HomePod get along with other manufacturers' speakers (like those from Sonos) to play music through all speakers in a home at the same time.

First and foremost, this feature is exclusive to iOS 11.4.

AirPlay, Apple's proprietary wireless streaming protocol, has received a major update in the form of AirPlay 2. The wireless audio protocol supports multi-room and HomePod stereo-pairing. You're not restricted to using Siri with the HomePod either, as she plays with other third-party speakers.

The company released a software release called iOS 11.4 on Tuesday that unlocks more features for the smart speaker.

You see, provided you have the latest Apple TV, you can use it to send audio to speakers around your home, rather than just coming from your iPhone or iPad.

If a user deletes a message on one device, that message will be wiped from all devices instantly.

Messages in iCloud will use end-to-end encryption, and uses cloud storage instead of local storage for message archives and attachments.

Anyway, as it turns out, there is a much more important feature in iOS 11.4 than AirPlay 2 stereo pairing. These speakers can be integrated seamlessly into your multi-room setup, allowing you to mix and match speakers and audio products from different brands, including Bang & Olufsen, Bluesound, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Denon, Libratone, Marantz, Marshall, Naim, Pioneer, and Sonos.

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