Tech giant Apple has rolled out iOS 11.4, and it brings a lot of changes to Apple HomePods: AirPlay 2 with multi-room audio. The company’s iOS 11.4 update now allows both HomePod and Apple TV devices to play audio in your home or selected areas of your home. The latest iOS update is also applicable for forthcoming third-party AirPlay 2 devices as well.
OS 11.4 With AirPlay 2 Audio Support For HomePod
This means all the AirPlay 2 devices could now be controlled if you will be using the iOS device, HomePod, Apple TV, or by simply asking Apple’s smart assistant Siri. You can activate Siri by saying a command, say you want to hear music in a room. Then Siri will automatically play a particular music via AirPlay 2-compatible speakers.
Also, several manufacturers have also pledged to support AirPlay 2. This includes Bang & Olufsen, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Marshall, Pioneer, and Sonos, among others. Furthermore, AirPlay 2 devices would now show up in the Apple Home app. This is possible because AirPlay 2 now integrates with HomeKit.
Also, the iOS 11.4 has brought some update for Messages in iCloud to the operating system. It can be recalled that this feature has been a work in progress since Apple has introduced iOS 11 last year. With the recent update, Messages in iCloud serves as a storage house where all iMessages in Apple’s cloud are kept.
Before, an Apple user needs to sign in using a user’s iCloud account to receive iMessages. Those Apple users who saved all of their iMessage conversations are complaining of the storage space taken up by iMessage. This is because all the information is being stored to individual devices.
Apple’s new smart speaker may cost as little as $199 when it goes on sale.
The Cupertino-based company is reportedly planning to launch a more affordable version of its HomePod smart speaker under the Beats Brand.
Rumours about a cheaper version of the HomePod has already surfaced in April, just two months after its official launch. This is apparently because of a slow market uptake of the HomePod, having to compete with other brands like Amazon Echo and Google Home. However, this is the first time that we are hearing about the device being under the Beats brand.
According to Apple’s Taiwan supply chain source, the company is said to be planning a $199 HomePod. This is through a report in Loveios. Apple is apparently in talks with MediaTek for the production of the cheaper smart speaker.
The original HomePod is currently priced at $349. To compare, both the Google Home and Amazon Echo start at $49. So it is not surprising that Apple would want to decrease its smart speaker pricing to compete with the other big names.
Apple already owns the Beats brand and its audio technology so it is also not a surprising move. Marketing the speakers under Beats would allow Apple to have room for design, especially colours and textures.
It is important to note that these are still rumours and should be taken with a grain of salt. Apple coulda also be releasing a Beats-branded AirPlay 2 instead of a cheaper HomePod. We will just have to wait and see!
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The Cupertino-based tech company Apple has finally unveiled its HomePod in a statement on Tuesday. The Siri-powered smart speaker is now actively used by over half billion devices across the globe.
By the numbers: How many Siri-powered devices across the globe?
Apple said the figure climbed up from more than 375 million back in June last year. The company revealed these details during the Worldwide Developers Conference last year. This means that Siri made its way to 125 million devices for a period of seven months.
In a Homepod press statement released on Tuesday, Apple said, “Siri, now actively used on over half a billion devices, has developed a deep knowledge of music and understood your preferences and tastes.”
So how these figures are relevant? The company was able to sell 87.7 iPhones, 21.7 million iPads including 9.7 million Macs. This would total to some 119.1 million Apple’s voice assistant-powered devices.
However, Apple has yet to release the Apple Watch metrics, a device that was powered by Apple’s voice assistant. Tech experts further claimed that the sales were pegged between 10 million and 15 million units for 2017.
And they added that Apple’s income was not yet revealed for the first quarter of 2018. But they hinted that during the said fiscal period, there would be tens of millions of Siri-powered devices added to the final tally.
With HomePod, the company has expressed hopes that bring Siri into your home would be able to automate and execute tasks. These tasks include, among others, sending messages, setting timers, playing media and controlling HomeKit accessories.
Apple fans can start pre-ordering the HomePod on February 9.