Off late, Apple has been teasing Airplay 2 quite aggressively. Since previewing it for the first time at WWDC earlier this year, Apple has been announcing the timeline of the new improved wireless audio streaming feature and it has kept users quite interested. According to what we know till now, Apple will be launching Airplay 2 with iOS 11.2 and it is expected to support multi-room audio streaming and it also works on Apple TV. Also, the users will be able to use it with compatible speakers with the help of Homekit and Siri.
Airplay as it evolved
Airplay has been around since 2004, however, it was earlier known as AirTunes and worked only with the Apple Apps. In 2010, it was rebranded as Airplay and added features like screen mirroring in the later years.
Airplay helps the users send media content to the supported devices like Apple TV, speakers etc. Airplay has been evolved over the years and currently, it works over your Wifi signal to provide a better connectivity and clarity compared to the Bluetooth streaming. It does help users to play their favorite podcast or music playlist on any of the supported gadgets.
Airplay has been refreshed after 7 long years. So users have been expecting a lot of new features to be added. We haven’t got to test Airplay 2 yet, however, from what we know, Airplay will have a huge buffering capacity and that means if the users lf the users get a phone call or accidentally leave the Wifi range, the audio will continue to play on the device. Also, this will help address the latency issues which often resulted in skipped audio while playing.
Along with adding better latency and coverage features, Airplay 2 includes support for multi-room audio playback from iOS enabled devices. This feature was earlier available for MacBooks and PCs using iTunes, however, this is the first time that Apple is going to enable this for iPhones as well. With Airplay 2, you can easily manage a number of speakers from the control center and play music on them simultaneously. Also, the integration with Homekit is yet another feature which could be very popular in the times to come.
Home Kit will enable voice gestures for Airplay 2 and with the help of Siri, it will provide a great experience where users will be able to customise the home screen according to the need. Also, the experience will be so seamless that the user will be able to instruct his phone using Siri to play a particular podcast or a track in kitchen or the living room. All by using his voice.
Speakers for Airplay 2
Apple has been selling speakers supported by Airplay for quite some time now. However, these speakers were never so well appreciated because of a high price tag and not-so-good performance. However, with the improvements in Airplay 2, the speakers might get a pick again. Apple has announced that there are a number of brands interested in making Airplay 2 speakers and some of these brands include Bang & Olufsen, Naim, Bose, Devialet, Dynaudio, Polk, Denon, McIntosh, Marantz, Bowers & Wilkins, Libratone, Definitive Technology, and BlueSound. Also, Apple has suggested that Beats, a brand owned by the company, will start to make speakers with Airplay 2 support soon. Apple TV-4K too has built-in speakers, which will support Airplay 2 as it launches.
Also, the most interesting part of the lineup, Apple HomePod, the smart-speaker from Apple, will be launching next month. HomePod comes with built-in Siri and is expected to offer some unique and very interesting features as it launches.
Apple had teased Airplay 2 for the first time at the launch of iOS 11. However, the first version of iOS 11 did not have the feature and the next version, iOS 11.1.1 did not feature that too. However, the second beta launch of iOS 11.2 does give us some hint about the feature being added in the next official launch. Also, Apple has been teasing HomePod to be launched in December and that means, we should get to see this feature officially in a few weeks from now, positively, before the end of this year.