Sonos speakers just got smarter with AirPlay 2 upgrade

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Sonos supports AirPlay2
Sonos speakers connect to over 80 streaming services.
Photo: Sonos

Sonos is opening its speakers to a new world of listening experiences today with the addition of AirPlay 2.

The smart speaker company teased AirPlay 2 support last month during the introduction of its Beam speaker. Now, just over a month after Apple added AirPlay 2 as part of iOS 11.4, Sonos is the first third-party speaker company to dive head first into the new tech. And the company added a few tricks your HomePod can’t match.

macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 brings AirPlay 2 to iTunes

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wwdc 2017
MacOS High Sierra is still being updated. In fact, there's a new version out now.
Photo: Apple

Apple isn’t quite done with macOS High Sierra, even though most people’s attention is on the replacement, macOS Mojave. What’s likely the final update to the old version, macOS 10.13.6, is now available for download.

The main purpose of this release seems to be bug fixes, but the release notes do mention one new feature.

Sonos busts out new Beam sound bar, plus AirPlay 2 support

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sonos beam
Sonos Beam is sleek but packs a punch.
Photo: Sonos

Sonos is making a power play to take over your living room with its latest smart speaker called Sonos Beam.

Beam is a new sound bar that is smaller than Sonos’ Playbar and Playbase, but it also packs some new features like a five-microphone array and it plays well with Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and of course, Siri.

Watch out HomePod, this thing looks amazing:

How to set up HomePod stereo pairs with AirPlay 2

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HomePod
Now all you need is a second HomePod.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Almost a year after it was first announced, AirPlay 2 is finally ready and running on iOS. AirPlay 2 lets you stream audio from your iPad or iPhone to more than one speaker at the same time (something that has always been possible on the Mac). And if you use AirPlay 2 with a pair of HomePod speakers, you can choose to treat them as the left and right speakers of a stereo pair, giving a much bigger-sounding audio picture.

Here’s how.

Ears-on review: Stereo HomePods will blow you away

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HomePod
Two HomePods are better than one.
Photo: Erfon Elijah/Cult of Mac

Stereo-pairing has been one of the most anticipated HomePod features and now that it has finally arrived, it was definitely worth the wait.

HomePod owners can now pair two or more speakers together to create rich stereo soundscapes in their house for an audio experience that’s unlike any other. CultCast producer Erfon Elijah went ears-on with the new feature and says his finely tuned ears were tingling with delight from the sounds HomePod can blast out. The 360-degree sound is so enveloping that it’s hard to tell where it’s even coming from.

Listen to the difference:

tvOS 11.4 arrives with AirPlay 2, watchOS 4.3.1 brings bug fixes

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apple tv and siri remote
Grab the latest tvOS 11 update now.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple pushed two other software updates for Apple TV and Apple Watch owners this morning to go with the big new iOS 11.4 release that came out today.

tvOS 11.4 and watchOS 4.3.1 don’t contain nearly as many exciting new features as iOS 11.4, but if you like playing music from your Apple TV you should definitely grab the update ASAP.

iOS 11.4 finally brings HomePod stereo pairs and AirPlay 2

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iOS 11.4
The sound at home is about to get sweeter with iOS 11.4.
Photo: Apple

iOS 11.4 is finally here, bringing AirPlay 2’s multi-room audio capabilities as well as the long-awaited ability to use two HomePods in stereo.

The free update uses AirPlay 2 to move music from room to room or play the same music throughout the home on compatible speaker systems. You can control music using an iOS device, HomePod, Apple TV or making requests through Siri.

iOS 11.4 beta 6 released just three days after beta 5

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iOS 11.3 Beta
After not making the cut in the last update, Messages on iCloud will be a big addition in iOS 11.4
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple took the very unusual move of releasing a second iOS 11.4 beta this week. The fifth version of the developer beta came out on Monday, and its replacement debuted today.

This could mean good things for the imminent launch of this iPhone and iPad operating system update to the general public, or it could be a bad sign.

Hands on with iOS 11.4 beta 2

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iPhone X Product Red Wallpaper
iOS 11.4 beta 2 adds an awesome new wallpaper along with other changes.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple fixed a few bugs and added a great new wallpaper in iOS 11.4 beta 2, but it also removed at least one highly anticipated feature. Check out our video below to see everything that’s new in the latest version of iOS.

Apple drops second beta of iOS 11.4

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iOS 11.4 beta 1 brings back big features we saw in previous betas, including AirPlay 2, multiroom support in Home app, and Messages on iCloud.
iOS 11.4 brings back some cool new features Apple teased us with before.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Developers received a new batch of beta updates this morning, including the second beta build of iOS 11.4.

The new build brings a number of new features to the iPhone and iPad, including some that were pulled from iOS 11.3, like AirPlay 2 and Messages on iCloud. Apple has added a number of bug fixes and performance improvements in the new builds as it preps it for a public release.