iOS 11.4 could finally bring Airplay 2 to the world

Just a week after the updated iOS 11.3 software was launched for iPads and iPhones, Apple has dropped the developer beta of the 11.4 version of the platform.

Apple Insider has done a fine job of going through the new update, and found that it contains some new features that owners of other Apple devices will find interesting.

AirPlay 2 is the biggest one here, as it means that you'll be able to stream audio around your Apple-enabled home more easily - so if you're listening to some tunes on a HomePod and want to have them playing on an Apple TV downstairs, it'll be as easy as tapping from your iPhone.

The key thing this could enable is stereo use of two HomePods, a feature not enabled at launch. That would require a firmware upgrade, but it might be something that's kept as a headline feature for WWDC 2018, which is happening in June.

That's where we'll see iOS 12 unveiled, and Airplay 2 could be a big feature there - so perhaps its presence in 11.4 is just another opportunity to test it out for Apple.

Text me in the clouds above

The other change to 11.4 is the ability to have iMessages in the cloud - something that's already been announced as coming, and would allow synchronization of missives across all devices, with messages being deleted on one disappearing on the rest.

The final big change uncovered was the addition of ClassKit - anyone keeping a close eye on our coverage of the new iPad (2018) launch last week will have seen that this enables app developers to make their wares SchoolWork compatible.

What do you mean, you didn't read all the coverage? We don't care if you had stuff to do, you're always doing thi… OK, fine. SchoolWork is the app that allows teachers to assign work to students and check on their progress, and making the app ClassKit-enabled means it can be used within that framework, allowing teachers to assign tasks within the app.

According to Apple Insider, there's no slowdown with the developer beta release of 11.4, meaning it seems pretty stable at this time - however, any developer will know that these releases are always a bit dicey, and the features listed might not make it to the final launch.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.