iOS 11.4 includes AirPlay 2 multi-room audio, support for HomePod stereo pairs, and Messages in iCloud. This update also includes bug fixes and improvements.
It’s like waking up on WWDC morn only that’s still a week away and these features should be fully tested and functional.
AirPlay 2 has been one of the longest software announcements to production rollout I’ve ever seen from Apple. Finally the new software implementation of their media streaming protocol will allow you to use AirPlay 2 compatible speakers to play to both singularly and together in a multi-room scenario. Sonos have announced support for AirPlay 2 with some of their newer speakers with many more manufacturers expected to add the functionality in updates and new products.
Another feature in today’s update includes support for two HomePod’s to be connected in the same room as a stereo pair. Going by the estimated sales figures of Apple’s smart speaker and despite its audio superiority I don’t imagine there’s a huge market of people rushing to do this, but hey at least you can now, like they promised.
Finally the feature I’m most excited by is the integration of Messages into the iCloud platform. No, this doesn’t mean you can log into the iCloud website and bang out messages (although that should be a thing or they should release a Windows client), it’s the integration of the service to record and sync your messages properly across your devices.
In addition to syncing your conversations the new implementation will shift message attachments to the cloud – freeing up space on your phone/iPad.