IOS 11.4 Is Out: Here's All the New Features

Tyler Lizenby  CNET

Tyler Lizenby CNET

Apple has stated it will sell its HomePod smart speaker in Canada, France, and Germany from 18 June 2018.

Apple has rolled out iOS 11.4, which finally includes the AirPlay 2 technology first announced nearly a year ago.

There's, of course, the Apple HomePod. Now, you can finally back up your messages to iCloud, and it's much easier to sync your messages across different devices too. HomePod users can update its software in Apple's Home app.

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You can check out the full release notes for iOS 11.4 here. Tap there, and the iOS 11.4 update should be waiting for you to download just by following the onscreen prompts.

With HomePod pitched at the higher end of the market, using Wi-Fi for connectivity and taking on Sonos, it would make sense for Beats to release a Siri-containing, music-orientated Bluetooth speaker to go up against the likes of UE's Megablast, which has Amazon Alexa integration, and Sony's LS-50, which incorporates Google Home.

The company's answer to the Sonos home audio networking system was supposed to arrive alongside the AirPod speaker in February, but has been absent until the end of May. Here's a detailed look at the new features on iOS 11.4.

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Until now, Apple fans could only use the original AirPlay format to take advantage of multi-room audio when streaming from iTunes running on a PC or Mac, not from a mobile device. Apple's own HomePods will be automatically supported so there will be no need to manually group speakers. Multi-room audio also works on a wide variety of third-party speaker devices.

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.

Apple has released iOS 11.4 which means we all get to finally try AirPlay 2, Apple's streaming feature that has been in development for nearly a year now. This brings some important changes to HomePod, including the stereo pairing option that was missing at launch. The iOS 11.4 update also brings the ability to store your messages on iCloud, apart from a bunch of performance improvements and bug fixes. Well, remember that it's called Messages in iCloud, which means that it makes use of, and uses up, your iCloud storage.

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