AirPlay 2: innovations and compatibility

With AirPlay 2 and the HomePod as a comprehensive loudspeaker with this technology, which also brings Siri into the living room, there are some innovations in the smart home. Important for current users of AirPlay: Can Airplay-enabled speakersthat I already have are operated with Airplay 2 or do these have limitations compared to new speakers like the HomePod, which is probably the first speaker with native Airplay 2?

AirPlay 2 compatible, speakers with firmware update

New Apple devices and speakers from third-party manufacturers are compatible with AirPlay 2. In addition to the new ones, the current ones, so you can get a firmware update. (Image source: Apple)

AirPlay 2 information

With this technology from Apple there is the great advantage of playing "multi-room" music and other content. Various loudspeakers can be wirelessly controlled and supplied with audio. In addition, the speakers can be controlled by various devices - via the Mac, iPhone or iPad, Apple TV, HomePod with Siri, etc. AirPlay 2 should also be supported by HomePod and Apple TV (from the 4th generation) as output devices Third party speakers.

Incidentally, according to Apple, the following formats are supported:

  • LPCM
  • AAC
  • MP3
  • ALAC

Assign the output location with the AirPlay Picker

Apple's own applications and offers from other software companies will certainly become a so-called with AirPlay 2 AirPlay picker to offer. With this, speakers and devices can be switched on or disconnected from a list with a simple tap on the screen. In this way, the music can be “taken with you” from one room to the other.

New demands on loudspeakers

The current AirPlay ensures a stream of audio in real time. Before the output there is a small buffer in the loudspeaker, i.e. a preparation of the content to be played so that dropouts can be prevented. Also and especially in the case of interruptions in transmission, this ensures seamless playback of music and the like. Speakers for AirPlay 2, however, should be able to buffer more (instead of a few seconds, several minutes of content). The transmission itself should also be faster, which the loudspeakers must be able to process.

Information on the topic (for developers): Apple presentation from WWDC 2017 (PDF)

Are previous speakers compatible with AirPlay 2?

Speakers that have previously worked with the first generation of Apple transmission technology for audio content can also be used with the second generation. A prerequisite for this, however, is a corresponding firmware Update. According to media reports, these manufacturers have already announced corresponding updates for their firmware:

  • Beats
  • blue sound
  • Bang & Olufsen
  • Angry
  • Bowers & Wilkins
  • Denon
  • Libratone
  • Marantz

Do you use this streaming option?

Do you use AirPlay to transfer audio from your Apple devices to speakers and stereo systems? Or do you rather trust the manufacturer Sonos, which already offers multi-room solutions and is now facing serious competition from Apple with AirPlay 2? ;)

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6 comments

  1. J. Rossmann says:

    Hallo,
    will AIRPLAY2 be possible with iPhone 6 with IOS11?
    OR it will only be supported in generation 8 (iPhone 6S or SE).
    Thank you for your feedback.

    With kind regards,
    Jürgen Rossmann

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Jurgen! So far there is iOS 11, but no Airplay 2 device that can be controlled. And as far as I know, Apple has not said which iOS devices Airplay 2 will work with. I strongly assume that everyone who also has iOS 11 will also receive Airplay 2 support, but at the moment it is not yet feasible even with the new Apple TV 4, which is more likely due to the fact that Apple does not "activate it" " Has. The Apple TV 4 should already be technically capable of this ... I think Apple will then "reveal" the feature with the HomePod. Hoping to put a HomePod in every room in the apartment. : D

  2. J. Rossmann says:

    ... thank you again for the quick feedback ...
    With kind regards,
    Jürgen Rossmann

  3. The-O says:

    The better multiroom is definitely Bang & Olufsen. Apart from Voice Company, Apple doesn't offer anything new with Airplay 2. Chromecast and Spotify Connect will be able to follow suit without any problems.

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