It's been two weeks since the last beta of iOS 11.4, and today Apple is releasing the stable version to the public. The new update includes support for AirPlay 2 and allows two HomePod devices to be linked together as a single speaker.
For the HomePod, Apple is making it easy for devices to be linked. When setting up a second HomePod in the same room, users will be prompted to link the devices together. From there, they use an "Apple-designed wireless peer-to-peer direct link" to stay in sync, so that only one of the devices responds to Siri requests. The two speakers will also use spatial awareness for the best sound experience when working together.
The announcement also mentions that HomePod is coming to new markets, specifically Canada, France, and Germany on June 18, in addition to the US, UK, and Australia where it is already available.
AirPlay 2 makes it easier to control playback on multiple speakers across the house. Users can now choose one or more devices or rooms where music should be played right from the Control Center on iOS 11.4. Apple Music subscribers can even have different songs played in different rooms all from the same device.
Additionally, HomePod is gaining the ability to communicate with other upcoming AirPlay 2-enabled speakers to play, which is currently only supported on iPhone and iPad. This means playback on these devices can be controlled from HomePod as well.
The new update also introduces Messages in iCloud, which means that messaging history is now synced across a user's devices. It will show up on newly configured devices, and deleting messages and conversations on one device will also have those changes be reflected in others. The feature comes after repeated delays in previous versions of iOS 11, despite its announcement almost a year ago.
Apple's WWDC event is just around the corner, and the company is expected to announce iOS 12 by then, which should be a much more significant update.