Apple today released new updates for its entire line of hardware devices. The updates include iOS 11.4 for iPhone and iPad, tvOS 11.4 for Apple TV, and watchOS 4.3.1 for Apple Watch. The update includes bug fixes, stability improvements, and a couple notable new features for iOS and tvOS. The two main new features include Messages in iCloud for synced conversations among devices and AirPlay 2 which provides multi-room audio and allows two HomePod speakers to work together in stereo.
Apple iOS and tvOS 11.4
Messages in iCloud is a feature that was first introduced during last year’s WWDC. It allows you to keep track of your conversations across all your Apple devices like iPhone, iPad, Watch, and your Mac. You can now access your entire Messages history when you set up a new iOS device. Also, when you delete a message from one device, that change syncs to all your other Apple devices. With messages (including attachments) stored in iCloud, it opens more room on your devices that are cramped for local storage. It’s also worth mentioning that the messages are secured with end-to-end encryption protected by a unique key linked to the device.
AirPlay 2 is the new feature that allows to wirelessly stream audio to multiple rooms with compatible speakers and devices. You can control the audio in Control Center on your device and ask Siri to play music to a single room or group of rooms. If you have a HomePod, Airplay 2 is automatically supported, and you don’t need to manually group speakers. This is similar to setting up multiroom audio on Alexa devices or using Google Home for multiroom audio playback. AirPlay 2 is also supported on Apple TV and you can control the playback of audio to different devices from your screen. Popular speaker manufacturers like Bose, Pioneer, Marantz, and Sonos and others will support Apple’s AirPlay2 technology.
The iOS update is available for iPhone 5s and later, iPad Air and later, and even the 6th generation iPod touch. The tvOS 11.4 update is available for the 4th generation Apple TV and the new Apple TV 4K. And all models of Apple Watch are compatible with the 4.3.1 update. The only thing not updated today is macOS