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Apple HomePod launching in more countries

HomePod iPhone X iPad and Apple TV lined

The update brings features promised by Apple during the first announcement of iOS 11 at WWDC 2017.

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. HomePod will be able to communicate with other AirPlay 2-enabled speakers as well. Previously, all devices signed into a user's iCloud account received iMessages. Tap there, and the iOS 11.4 update should be waiting for you to download just by following the onscreen prompts. You can also control the synced speaker directly from the lock screen of iPhones and iPads and also through Siri. In addition to using Siri or individual apps to control speaker selection and music playback, all AirPlay 2 devices available in a home will show up in iOS' Control Center.

Anyone with a compatible Apple TV or Apple Watch is able to grab the latest tvOS and watchOS OTA updates right now from the respective update mechanisms found on the respective devices themselves.

Editors' note: This story was originally published at 10:01 a.m. PT. The iOS 11.4 update is around 330 MB is size.

AirPlay 2 will allow users to play music in any room, move music from one room to another or play the same song everywhere via their iOS device, HomePod, Apple TV or by asking Siri. Like AirPlay 2, this feature has bounced in and out of iOS betas, having originally been announced at WWDC a year ago. The difference now is that Apple has finally unlocked a couple of capabilities the smart speaker was sorely lacking: stereo pairing and multi-room audio.

However, before we get ahead, let's dissect Messages in iCloud: Prior to 29 May 2018, when Apple rolled out iOS 11.4, you couldn't use iCloud for your text messages. However, if you set up a new device, you would not see any of your old messages or conversations on that device. Apple's own HomePods will be automatically supported so there will be no need to manually group speakers. This helps to save some local storage space on your devices.

For the Mac, go to Preferences within the Messages app and click the checkbox next to Enable Messages in iCloud.