iOS 11.4 beta hands-on: AirPlay 2, Messages in iCloud, HomePod stereo pairing & more

Apple yesterday seeded first developer-only betas of iOS 11.4, tvOS 11.4 and watchOS 4.3.1, with the iOS and tvOS betas reinstating a pair of missing features that we were promised at WWDC back last summer: AirPlay 2 and Messages in iCloud.

The first developer beta of what would become a fourth major software update to iOS 11 also brings support for HomePod stereo pairing and Apple’s new ClassKit framework.

But first, watch our video walkthrough of everything new in iOS 11.4 beta 1.

Subscribe to iDownloadBlog on YouTube

AirPlay 2 brings multi-room and multi-device control. With AirPlay 2, users are able to control audio playback and adjust volume across multiple AirPlay devices at once right from the Control Center on their iPhone or iPad, iTunes or the AirPlay menu on their Apple TV.

Thanks to AirPlay 2, your Apple TV automatically appears in the Home app.

AirPlay 2 also brings the ability for HomePod owners to connect two speakers to create a richer sound, requiring a matching HomePod beta software which hasn’t released yet.

Multi-device control with AirPlay 2

According to Apple’s official documentation for developers, the new ClassKit framework in iOS 11.4 lets developers create educational apps that enable teachers to view student progress on assigned activities in a ClassKit-enhanced app.

What’s your favorite enhancements in iOS 11.4 beta 1? And are you happy for the reintroduction of the elusive AirPlay 2 and Messages in iCloud features?

Let us know in the comments.