(This is a slightly modified cross-post from the AirPort Express AirPlay 2 news thread.) I don't know about everyone else, but it's taken me a while to fully piece together what the AirPlay 2 ecosystem can really do and how we're supposed to use it. The promise of AirPlay 2 is multi-room audio - and it (largely) delivers on that. However there are some important nuances about this new eco-system that are worth understanding. There are also some gaps that I think Apple needs to fill to truly achieve this vision. First, it's important to recognize that not all AirPlay 2 compatible devices are created equal: iOS-based devices - such as HomePods, iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs - are essentially AirPlay 'hubs'. These devices can stream audio directly from Apple Music and (in the case of Apple TVs, iPhones and iPads) other online audio sources. Furthermore, these hubs can 'multicast' these streams to any other AirPlay 2 device (whether these devices are hubs or not). Other AirPlay 2 compatible devices - such as the recently updated AirPort Express - are more like AirPlay 'clients'. They can be streaming *destinations* for hub devices, but cannot themselves stream audio directly from the Internet. (Thus far I only have direct experience with the AirPort Express, but my guess is that other third party AirPlay 2 compatible devices (i.e. amps, Sonos, etc.) operate the same way. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong). Note that Apple does not explicitly make this distinction - it's not documented anywhere, as far as I can tell. However, it is a meaningful distinction. Why? Consider these use cases: If I ask Siri on my iPhone to 'play Foo Fighters in the Living Room' (an AirPort Express). It will stream the music from my iPhone to the AirPort Express. My iPhone is now 'in use' - if I turn it off, start listening to something else on it, or leave the house with it, the music in the Living Room will stop. It's slightly better if I ask my HomePod to 'play Foo Fighters in the Living Room', as it will stream the music from the HomePod to the Living Room (and any other destination I specify). This means I can turn off my phone, use it to make calls, etc. However, the HomePod in my kitchen is now 'in use'. If I then ask my HomePod to play something else in the kitchen, Foo Fighters will stop playing in the Living Room. Things work much better if you ask Siri on one device to play music on one or more other 'hub' devices. For example, if I ask Siri on my iPhone to 'play the Beatles in the Kitchen' (a HomePod), the HomePod will begin streaming this music directly from the Internet, with no dependency on my phone. Or if I ask my HomePod to play music on my Family Room Apple TV, the Apple TV will begin streaming this music directly, with no dependency on my HomePod. Furthermore, I can independently control playback on 'hubs' via the iOS Music App on my iPhone or iPad, and even see lyrics and 'Up Next' there (you can't yet edit the 'Up Next' list for a remote hub, but hopefully this feature will be added at some point). As I think I've demonstrated in these use cases, the experience is somewhat inconsistent depending on whether the target device in question is a hub or a client. So what's the solution? We're actually closer than you might think. I think that AirPlay 'clients' are fine as a low cost alternative and probably work well enough for most people. But there should be at least one AirPlay 'hub' device on the market (a HomePod lite?) with audio out to support rooms with existing amps - such as built-in speaker systems, outdoor speaker systems, etc. This would allow those of us with these types of use cases (and willing to pay a premium) to realize the full multi-room audio experience - the ability to independently control - from any device - the playback of audio on any other device in the house. Would love to hear other people's experience thus far and if they agree or disagree with this assessment (or am I the only one crazy enough to spend this much time and effort on AirPlay 2?!).