Apple Lists Third Party Speakers and Receivers That Will Support AirPlay 2

White Home Pod speaker on a black shelf

iOS 11.4 brings stereo pairs and multi-room audio with AirPlay 2

Beyond the new music-playback features, the iOS update also lets users ask a HomePod to read out information from Apple's calendar app, as well as schedule new events via voice commands.

The feature is extremely handy as it syncs your Messages app across devices, whether it's an iPhone, iPad, iPod (iOS 11.4) or even the Mac (macOS 10.13.5).

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. Users will need WiFi on their iOS device in order to download the update.

AirPlay 2 is Apple's updated way to store content to TVs and other devices.

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iOS 11.4, released today (May 29), adds AirPlay 2, giving you the ability to sync up compatible speakers throughout your home when streaming audio. Airplay 2 is a wireless audio protocolAirplay 2 will be enabled on iOS (iPhone, iPad) as well as tvOS (Apple TV4, Apple TV 4K) as soon as you install the latest version 11.4 software from Apple. tvOS 11.4 brings no other major improvements to Apple TV. If you have speakers that support AirPlay 2, you can use Siri for music control as well. Nevertheless, the new change is likely to convince other multimedia device manufacturers to integrate the new protocol.

But when we reviewed the £319 HomePod, we stated that most of its teething problems could be fixed, in particular the lack of stereo pairing and potential benefits of AirPlay 2. Stereo pairing, combined with HomePod's spacial awareness feature, means that the devices can fill a room with sound that has more depth, balance, and power than before.

Rumours are afoot that Apple will be launching a more affordable HomePod in the coming months, in order to compete with the Google Home and Amazon Echo range. Having said that, Apple is offering features such as location sensing and advanced beamforming to take on the competition. When this is turned on all messages (SMS, iMessage) will be backed up to your iCloud account.

But wait, there's more - you end up saving space on your device as well as your messages are offloaded to Apple's iCloud servers.

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