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Apple’s iOS 11.4 software update hit iPhones on Tuesday — just days before the tech giant is expected to announce iOS-12 and a few other pieces of software at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California.
The new update for the iPhone 5s and higher, iPad Air and later, and iPod touch 6th generation comes with a number of new features, including: AirPlay 2 multi-room audio, support for HomePod stereo-pairs, messages in iCloud, among other bug fixes.
According to Forbes, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus users also have a few new colorful backgrounds to choose from to brighten up their phone backgrounds.
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While Apple is expected the new iOS-12 — its latest mobile operating system might have features such as animojis for FaceTime, enhanced security, and updates to the Health app and more on June 4 — iOS 11.4 is considered as a major update for Apple users.
Here is what you need to know about the new features before you update your software to 11.4.
Extra iMessages in iCloud
Go to Settings > > iCloud > Messages turn the feature on.
iPhone users have waited almost a year for the ability to store all of their iMessages in iCloud and with this new update, now they can do just that.
Messages (SMS-messages and instant messenger messages are automatically stored in the iCloud, freeing up space on your device.
“Messages in iCloud will be updated automatically, so you always have the same view wherever you use iMessage,” Apple says. “To delete a message, upload a photo, or a conversation on a device, it is deleted from all your devices.”
To turn on messages in iCloud, go to settings, tap on your name, iCloud and then turn on messages.
Multi-room audio with AirPlay 2
Apple users can play with music “in every room of every space” with the help of an iOS device, a HomePod, or Apple TV.
Apple users who have the update can play music in every room of every space” with the help of an iOS device, a HomePod, or Apple TV, Apple says.
Users can control the speakers that are set up in different rooms, with the help of the Home-app. You can boost the sound by playing music from multiple rooms, or let the music follow you in every room.
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The update is AirPlay-2 is also expected to improve the sound quality. Audio “the play of a higher degree of responsiveness,” Forbes notes.
HomePods, Apple’s $349 wireless speakers, is more compatible with Siri.
If you HomePods, Apple’s $349 wireless speakers, then this update will definitely make your life easier. (HomePods available in Canada, France and Germany from 18 June).
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With iOS 11.4, customers can also ask Siri to play music from the speakers in each room.
“With personal wishes enabled for the HomePod, Siri can send a message, add reminders and notes, and the check calendar appointments,”Apple explains in a blog post online. “Siri can set a timer, play a podcast, check the news, sports, traffic and weather, and the control of a wide range of HomeKit smart home accessories.”
Next week, Apple is expected to unveil a host of new updates in a wide range of products, including the previously-mentioned iOS, as well as other operating systems, mac os, tvOS and watchOS.
Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster expects that the company’s strong focus on artificial intelligence and augmented reality. He also posited Apple can also be the harbinger of a new Beats of the brand smart speaker that is integrated with Siri to go along with the HomePod smart speaker, as Apple struggles to catch up to rivals such as Amazon and Google.
“The knock on HomePod is the $349 price is about 2-3x the price of a typical smart speaker,” Munster wrote in a research note. “We believe that Apple can advance its digital assistant ambitions with a $250 Beats-branded option which does not affect the HomePod $349 price.”
The analyst also expects to hear serious comments about Siri, pointing out that his testing of the last two years have shown Apple’s virtual assistant “lag significantly behind Google’s Home page, and marginally behind Alexa and Cortana.”
Fox News’ Chris Ciaccia, contributed to this report.