Apple has officially released iOS 11.4. This update brings a number of possibilities, such as AirPlay 2 and the possibility to use the HomePod speakers in a stereo setup. AirPlay 2 now avaiable that is the audioplatform of the company from Cupertino
AirPlay 2 now available
Do you have a modern iPhone, iPad or iPod? Then you can now download iOS 11.4. The update includes AirPlay 2 with it. It is a multiroom audio platform that allows different devices from different manufacturers with support for the platform to play the same music in the house. The biggest changes Apple has made to AirPlay is the larger buffer (so that music is not immediately interrupted on a busy network) and better synchronization between the devices.
It was always possible to use from a Mac AirPlay, but AirPlay 2 also brings the platform to iOS and HomePod. It is also possible for iOS users to continue to use their smartphone or tablet while listening to music; previously the music was then stopped. Moreover, you can very easily send the music from one room to the other, by speaking to Siri in English with the command “Siri, move the music to the living room”, if you go to the living room at that moment.
Several companies have already announced support for AirPlay 2: Bang & Olufsen, Bluesound, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Denon, Libratone, Marantz, Marshall, Naim, Pioneer and Sonos. The music platform of Apple works something different than for example Google Cast or Spotify Connect. These services see the connected speakers in the house as a kind of network computer (what are those things actually) that simply a command goes from your smartphone. The service then streams the music to the speaker.
Apple does it a bit differently: your iOS device remains extremely important and can not simply be removed from the relationship. The smartphone or tablet retrieves the music from the internet and then forwards it to the speaker. If your phone stops, if there are problems on the network or if you decide to leave home, the music flow stops. The only exception to this situation is the Apple HomePod, the first smart speaker of the company from Cupertino, which emphasizes music reproduction.
The Apple HomePod is able to receive music directly from the Internet and to transmit that power to other AirPlay 2 devices in the house. The HomePod also supports the possibility to be used in a stereo setup as per this update. Setting up is fortunately simple: when you add a second HomePod to a room, the app will ask if you want to merge the HomePods. The speaker will then adjust the settings itself, so that you do not have a different view for the bass per speaker, for example.
In addition, the Apple HomePod also receives support for the agenda. Siri can then tell more about the planned activities. In addition, it is possible to schedule new items with a few voice commands. These options are not available when your phone is not visible in the Wi-Fi network, so that not everyone can just consult your information. A better option would be that the HomePod can recognize users’ votes, but for now this is the solution that Apple has proposed.