"Airplay 2": What and why?

Discussion in 'iOS 11' started by zorinlynx, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. zorinlynx macrumors 601

    zorinlynx

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    #1
    Has any information been posted about AirPlay 2? I'm just wondering why it needs to exist. Apple says that it allows you to play the same music on multiple speakers around a house, but AirPlay has supported that feature for years; I play music from iTunes on my Mac on the Mac itself, an AirPlay speaker in the bedroom and an Apple TV in the living room and they are perfectly synchronized.

    So what does AirPlay 2 bring to the table? How will AirPlay 1 devices be supported? I figured we could use a thread for gathering this information as it comes available.
     
  2. FreeState macrumors 68000

    FreeState

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    #2
    This explains it pretty well:

    "With AirPlay 2, Apple is adding speaker control to the Home app. This means that users will be able to control speakers and manage multi-room audio directly from the Home app on their iOS device. Apple TV can act as a sort-of hub for this, allowing speakers paired to an Apple TV to be controlled with AirPlay 2.

    Furthermore, with AirPlay integration in Home, users can operate a shared “Up Next” play queue, meaning everyone can add their favorite songs to the queue from their own device."

    https://9to5mac.com/2017/06/05/appl...om-support-new-social-features-in-music-more/
     
  3. ZEEN0j macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    You can't do that on a iphone
     
  4. zorinlynx thread starter macrumors 601

    zorinlynx

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    #4
    True, but the protocol is obviously capable of it, so I'm wondering why we needed an "AirPlay 2", which obsoletes existing speakers, including my rather pricey JBL Authentics, for this. :)
     
  5. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

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    #5
    Do we know that they will be completely obsolete or maybe the Appletv can work as a hub with backward compatiblity with the older products? I am definitely intrigued by exactly how this will work, though.
     
  6. Macwick macrumors regular

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    Dec 9, 2008
    #6
    I have a large number of AirPlay 'targets' in my home:

    Apple TV 4th gen * 3
    Airport Express 1st gen * 1
    Airport Express 2nd gen * 2
    iHome W3 * 2

    My *hope* is that Apple adds AirPlay support for the Apple TVs and the 2nd gen Airport Express (because it is still available from Apple). I highly doubt my iHome speakers or 1st gen Airport Express will receive AirPlay 2 support.

    EDIT: The other reason I suspect they will add AirPlay 2 support to the Airport Express, is that it's currently the only Apple solution for distributing audio to an existing powered amplifier.

    I would also like to better understand how AirPlay 2 works within the Home app, and how it relates to the Music app and the iTunes Remote app. The current ecosystem is a bit of a mess - I need to use the Remote app to stream to multiple speakers, but it doesn't support Apple Radio or Apple Music, or I use my iPhone to stream to a single target, although that's not ideal because then my phone has to be on and connected for the music to stream (and the audio stream is constantly dropping/freezing).

    An *ideal* solution (unlikely) is that you use the Music app on your iPhone to select the destinations for streaming, and it then streams the music from the cloud to these devices, and doesn't rely on your iPhone pushing all this data out to your speakers.

    Can't wait for someone to try this out on the iOS 11 beta.
     
  7. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

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    #7
    They need to clear this up soon. There are tons of devices that have AirPlay built in at all price points. People will want to know if they are going to work with AirPlay 2 before spending the money.

    I prefer the older Airport Express that has everything built into the plug over the newer version, so I hope it is updated, as well.
     
  8. dantracht macrumors regular

    dantracht

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    Sep 19, 2013
    #8
    I have an extreme and 3 expresses (2012 model) powering my music setup in my home. I'm not updating everything just to be able to control this from my phone or ATV4. My MacBook Pro handles it all just fine.
     
  9. vipergts2207 macrumors 65816

    vipergts2207

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    Columbus, OH
    #9
    They've need multi-speaker support with iOS AirPlay for awhile now. Hopefully AirPlay 2 is mostly backwards compatible with AirPlay 1. It would suck if I couldn't AirPlay to my ATV 3 and a newer ATV or speaker at the same time.
     
  10. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

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    #10
    Especially when AirPlay "1" works perfectly fine with multi-room audio. The WHAALE iOS app has had the ability for a while.

    I admit that multiroom audio doesn't mean a lot to me, but it could be great that Apple is adding it to iOS. I just think they need to make it compatible with all AirPlay devices even if you need a newer Appletv to make it work.
     
  11. err404 macrumors 68020

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    Mar 4, 2007
    #11
    My hope is that Airplay 2 will work more like a Chromecast and allow for disconnected audio (and video?) playback. This seems like it may be the case as this would be required for the queuing to work. This should deliver more reliable playback that can continue even if the source iPhone moves over to another task.
     
  12. teddy07x macrumors member

    teddy07x

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    Mac Bay
    #12
    Does it work after you turn off your phone? I never understood why they didn't copy the chromecast feature where you can stream to a device without really needing the phone. Saves battery and if you move out of Wi-Fi coverage the music stops playing.
     
  13. RamGuy macrumors 6502a

    RamGuy

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    #13
    AirPlay doesn't do multi-room. You can select multiple speakers within iTunes on desktop, but there is no fancy multi-room functionality going on to ensure you get synchronised playback between devices.

    This was the sole reason why I moved from using AirPlay over to Sonos only six months ago. I had a Apple TV Gen 4 connected to my 5.1 Klipsch system in my living room, a B&W A7 AirPlay speaker in the bedroom, another AirPlay compatible speaker in the kitchen and a Harman/Kardon MS-150 in the bathroom with a AirPort Express for adding AirPlay.

    The audio when playing on all the speakers was never in sync. It was horrible, as everything you where located in places around the house where you could hear more than one of the speakers you get this horrible "halo"/"echo" effect on the music due to the speakers not playing perfectly in sync with each other.


    I guess AirPlay 2 is supposed to fix all of this as it makes AirPlay into a fully fledged multi-room solution, something AirPlay 1 was never advertised as and was never even a possibility on Apple's most popular devices (iOS).
    --- Post Merged, Jun 5, 2017 ---

    It doesn't work great. Unlike solutions like Sonos, Google Cast Multi-room and Spotify Connect it has nothing that tries to ensure synchronised playback on multiple devices.

    With the release of the new Apple HomePod one would think Apple is also looking at adding some more advanced capabilities like setting up two speakers in a stereo configuration for stereo playback. Currently AirPlay will mirror audio on all devices, so streaming to two different AirPlay speakers won't give you any stereo compatibility.

    One have to figure you can purchase 2x Apple HomePods and configure them as stereo speakers in your living room and I suppose the HomePod is relaying heavily on AirPlay 2 so it should feature some kind of separation capabilities.
     
  14. TheChallinor macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2012
    #14
    I would love to know how this works with 3rd party AirPlay Devices, older Apple TV's, AirPort Express etc.

    I'm guessing though potentially we won't find out much as it would involve people breaking their NDA's.
     
  15. manwithamission macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2012
    #15
    Airplay in its current (original) form has been able to be used by third party apps like airfoil to play and control airplay devices for years now and from the iPhone. If apple aren't actually changing the protocol of the airplay signal it will be clear that they are simply reseting their license for the protocol in third party hardware devices causing many to eventually bin perfectly good equipment and manufacturers to buy new licenses for new updated hardware. If the streaming protocol is not changing for example to increase the audio quality in some form, there should be no reason to not include current airplay equipment as compatible.
     
  16. phoreohphore macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2017
    #16
    EVERYBODY! I found this in the fine print of iOS11 page on apple website.

    [​IMG]

    Fingers crossed most of our devices are able to get a software update to be compatible. I have 5 airport expresses at home all connected to speakers for multiroom audio (and wifi). Still think this is the best setup as you get a wifi bridge and can use whatever speakers you want with the system.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 6, 2017 ---

    I don't think Airplay 2 will fix this as its down to how the manufactures of your gear have implemented Airplay, Apple can not do anything about that. The delay has been introduced as each set of speakers processes the audio differently and therefore introduces delays to the audio before it comes out the speakers (think EQ, pregain etc). I can guarantee you the audio is getting to the device at the same time.

    If you had the same speakers in every room then you wouldn't get this effect. I have 5 Airport expresses with airplay (works perfectly) and two other speakers with airplay built in (both Pioneer) and this delay get introduced (two Pioneer Devices have different delay to each other).

    Now Apple might dictate new protocols for Airplay 2 that manufactures have to adhere to (for new products), which might mean fixing this issue, as they are advertising it on their most popular devices. I hope so!
     
  17. RamGuy macrumors 6502a

    RamGuy

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    Norway
    #17
    If I know myself right, I'll just get a bunch of Apple Homepods and that should work. The only deciding factor is how Apple is going to tackle the living room / TV. As separate speakers in every room like the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom it won't have a hard time being the perfect speaker.

    But if it's capable of replacing my current Sonos Play Bar + Play Sub + 2x Play Bar 3 I have in my living room. It doesn't seem to have have any outputs so how should you connect it to a TV to begin with?
     
  18. jorrite macrumors newbie

    jorrite

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2017
    #18
    So here's for a very unpopular opinion: I sincerely hope that a lot of "AirPlay 1" speakers will not support "AirPlay 2". Let me explain why and also why I think Apple is going for this approach.

    Multi-room audio is very hard to do because of network latency. One commenter also mentioned things like EQ and delay between digital to analgue conversion. While true, the biggest challenge with multi-room audio is network. If you have a slow home network, the chances of off-sync audio between rooms increase significantly. To solve such a problem, the speakers need to work out together (read: computational power) which is the weakest link in the set-up and ultimately all play with that same delay. I'm pretty sure Sonos does this as well.

    In addition, with Sonos, each speaker itself is able to play music without the need of a phone (the phone merely works as a remote, not as a stream-device which pushes the signal to a speaker like AirPlay 1 currently does). The speaker itself will maintain the current playlist (allowing for other users to modify it too, AirPlay 2 will support this) and pulls the streams from source (Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Tidal, Network Share. Hoping AirPlay 2 does this) by itself. To be able to do this the speaker needs something of an OS or CPU/ARM (again: computational power).

    A lot of AirPlay 1 speakers are just capable of receiving an AirPlay stream from either a device in the WiFi network or Bluetooth. These devices couldn't pull a stream by themselves nor maintain a playlist. This, together with the multi-room sync issue makes me think these speakers will not support AirPlay 2. These type of speakers aren't even capable of receiving a large software update, they only have an AirPlay 1 certified chip to be able to handle those streams.

    There are some devices currently on the market that DO have computational power and are AirPlay 1 certified (Bluesound for example). I do think these speakers will be able to support AirPlay 2, because then it is merely a matter of software implementation.

    Also, if you look at the information we have currently, and the devices that will support AirPlay 2 for sure - ATV4 and the HomePod - these both have computational power. One possibility still out in the open is the option to pair AirPlay 1 devices with an ATV4. This will solve the problem of maintaining a playlist (the ATV4 will do it), but im not really sure about takeling the sync issue then. That being said, I don't think Apple will choose to support such complicated set-ups, how would you explain something like that to consumers? Very un-Apple imo, I don't expect it. What I do expect is that the ATV4 can function the same way a Sonos Connect works: giving computational power to your existing set-up. I don't expect an AirPort Express will do the same thing for the simple reason of not having enough power to deal with all the issues.

    So, in the end, to me it makes much more sense that each 'room' or 'zone' will need its own brain to be able to tap into the current playlist, deal with the sync issue, pull streams independently. This all will result in a much better quality of playback and synced experience. It will also open up the possibilities of stereo setups with 2 HomePods or other speakers.

    My 2 cents, hoping for it so I can ditch Sonos!
     
  19. dotnet macrumors 6502a

    dotnet

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    Sydney, Australia
    #19
    I don't get the point of multi-room audio. I didn't get it back when all AV receivers suddenly went multi-room, either. Why would I want my music to play in a room that I'm not in? Shouldn't the people in that room choose what's played there? Selecting the destination speaker from the source device works fine for me. Besides, playing the same music via multiple speakers simultaneously already works with Airplay-1.

    I could see a (very) slight point in it if the music would follow me as I move around the house, but that seems gimmicky and I doubt I'd be using it much.
     
  20. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

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    Memphis
    #20
    I believe that they have already said that the AppleTV 4 will be part of Airplay 2. The AppleTV is typically hooked up via HDMI to a TV, speaker or receiver via HDMI. Apple still can't control the DACs/processors in all of those different devices, so even if all of your AppleTVs are in sync, they could still have issues on how long each device they are hooked up to handle the digital signal.

    They could use the iPhone as a way you could walk around and have its mic listen for the audio stream and then they could automatically adjust the devices latency individually assuming they were streaming from the cloud rather than using the iPhone as the music hub like they do now.

    I still think there is a possibility that many of the Airplay devices could be updated. However, companies like Bose (just one example) may prefer selling you another product rather than giving you an Airplay 2 update, so a lot is still unknown at this point.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 6, 2017 ---
    I agree with you to some extent, but some people like the same music playing all over the house. I have used that feature with Airplay when we have parties.

    Outside of that, it is detrimental to sound quality because having music bleed in from one room to the next affects room acoustics. With mainstream receivers, you spend time calibrating them for the room using Audyssey, so I rarely ever want to use multi-room audio if I am actually using music for anything but having it casually playing in the background while I am cleaning the house or something.

    That being said, Apple had to offer multi-room because a lot of people listen casually and apparently like the idea of music playing all over the house as they are moving from room to room. Not really my style, but Sonos and others have capitalized on that market, so apparently it is a popular way to listen to music these days. As an example, you would tell Siri you want to listen to your morning blend playlist and have the same music playing in your kitchen, bath and bedroom. I typically just use the iPhone to move music to the room I want to hear it, but it requires you to carry around a device in the morning.

    As for receivers with that ability, it was about being able to listen to music in a separate zone by just buying a new set of speakers rather than spending hundreds on another receiver. In many of the receivers out now, you can actually send a completely separate audio and video signal to a separate room. I use this at home because I don't want to buy components for every room if I can simply use the same components in my living room to feed zone 2.
     
  21. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #21
    I have a Mac running iTunes playing simultaneous synchronized music to speakers connected to the Mac as well as to speakers connected to two older Airport Express units and to an Airplay Yamaha receiver with 5.1 audio (why use Airplay through my ATV4 on that when I can play direct to the Yamaha and the screen displays track info) and all of it sounds clear and in time. In fact when I turn on or off a room the audio momentarily pauses to adjust the synchronization for the changes. Sounds great. I can use the remote app on my iPhone to control up next and change tracks but otherwise my phone is not responsible for the content.
     
  22. Waterndirt macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    #22
    Like many on this thread, I too have devoted many hours and resources to my AirPlay infrastructure. With 6 Airplay Targets throughout my house, I'm more than concerned that Airplay 2 may disrupt what I have going, however, I'm hopeful Apple will make this backwards compatible due to the fact that we can already direct music to multiple speakers using iTunes. Like others I've wondered why we can't have Apple Music control and multi speaker support using our iPhones given that existing control already. Having multiple computers around the house I have the ability to control my sound fairly easily, however, iPhone support of Apple Music / multi speakers will be something I've wanted for a long time. I hope we get that without the sole need to rely on my ATV4 or a new HomePod.

    Every once and a while a couple speakers will develop a slight delay from one another. Nothing a network restart doesn't fix. For others that don't have multi room speaker setups, whole house / yard / garage audio is fantastic. Music listening from room to room. Dig it!

    Apple simply wants to advance the whole house music game for the average consumer that doesn't have time or knowledge to deal with Airport Express hardware, network settings and stand alone audio receivers.
     
  23. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

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    #23
    I mainly use Airfoil when I am in the mood for multi-zone audio and I haven't noticed a delay, either. I have three separate devices made by three separate companies that I can hear from my couch and all of them stay in sync. However, Airfoil may be adding some of their own magic to the mix. Not sure.
     
  24. err404 macrumors 68020

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    #24
    Airfoil is capable of adding a lot of magic to the mix. For example you can manually adjust the delay per device to compensate for speakers with a longer lag. I have an airport express connected to to my Sonos Play:5. It will airplay to all of my Sonos speakers with about a 3 second delay. With Airfoil I can use all of my Sonos and Airplay speakers together and still stay in sync.
    I don't expect that Apple will allow this versatility natively.
     
  25. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

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    #25
    I don't either. I think they could use the iPhone's mic to make any adjustments automatically, though.

    Airfoil will still be a useful tool even with Airplay 2 on the horizon since it works with Casting and Bluetooth, as well.
     

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