Apple releases Airplay 2 for Apple TV and HomePod

Tyler Lizenby  CNET

With AirPlay 2, Apple fans can now create groups of speakers around their home.

If you've got a really good memory, you may recall that one of the promised improvements to the Messages app in iOS 11 was Messages in iCloud, which was going to seamlessly sync messages between your many devices. You can find it under Settings General Software Update.

The new software adds another feature missing from the HomePod: the ability to check your calendar. Next week's developers conference may bring more updates to Siri and HomePod as both have been major points of focus for Apple in the past year. So for example if you have two HomePod and one Airplay 2-enabled soundbar, you can beam your TV audio to all three in ideal synchronization.

Credit: Tom's GuideIf you're among the underwhelming number of people who bought the HomePod, the new iOS brings some welcome functionality to your speaker, especially if you own multiple devices. You can also control multiple AirPlay 2-powered audio devices directly from Control Centre of your iOS device even through the lock screen.

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iCloud support for "Messages" was one of the most talked about features during the announcement of iOS 11. Having said that, Apple is offering features such as location sensing and advanced beamforming to take on the competition. Well, iOS 11.4 lets users store Messages on iCloud including photos and other attachments. For one, it means much more reliable and smooth message syncing across a user's ecosystem of devices. You could be working on your Mac or iPod and see SMS messages in the Messages app and choose to act on them and then AND have that action reflected across all your devices. Further, all your messages will appear on your new device when you sign in using the same iMessage account. But obviously, that's a downside too since it uses your allotted iCloud Drive storage for syncing messages.

The new update also adds support for Apple's new ClassKit framework.

Apple will introduce a Beat-branded $250 HomePod smart speaker at WWDC, predicts Apple analyst Gene Munster. In stereo mode, the algorithms have two drivers and two sets of tweeters through which to distribute the left and right sounds, with physical separation between them.

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