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Posts tagged with "airplay"

Sonos Adds AirPlay 2 Support to Certain Speaker Models

Sonos announced today that it has added AirPlay 2 support to compatible speaker systems. The update allows users to stream audio to the company’s Sonos One, Beam, Playbase, and the second generation Play:5 speakers from iOS apps that support AirPlay 2 and from iTunes on a Mac.

Sonos, which did not support the original AirPlay technology, is the first third-party manufacturer to make AirPlay 2 available to its users. In addition to streaming from iOS devices and Macs, AirPlay 2 will allow Sonos users to incorporate their speakers into multi-room setups that can be managed with Apple’s Home app and controlled with Siri. Sonos speakers that don’t support AirPlay 2 can also be used to stream from Apple devices when paired with an AirPlay 2-compatible Sonos speaker.

The update, which will be free to Sonos customers, can be applied to compatible Sonos speakers using its iOS app.


AirPlay 2 Is Coming to Sonos Speakers Next Month

Dieter Bohn of The Verge reports:

Sonos just announced that AirPlay 2 is coming to “newer” Sonos speakers in July. Unlike using Apple Music on the HomePod, it will stream music from your phone instead of directly over the internet. However, unlike the HomePod you will be able to control some of the AirPlay 2 music with Alexa. You can launch music on your iOS device in all the normal ways, including with Siri.

Essentially, Sonos’ software system is able to be aware of what is playing on your speakers, no matter the source, It’s a clever way to make AirPlay 2 a little more useful. Once the music is playing via AirPlay 2, you can use Alexa to pause, go to the next track, and even ask what’s playing.

For the platform-agnostic user – the exact user Sonos has focused on pitching its products to lately – this kind of blending together of different assistants and ecosystems may carry a lot of appeal. Since Alexa is the sole voice service currently available on Sonos speakers, the ability to control AirPlay 2 playback Amazon's assistant is key. I do wonder, though, if mixing and matching different services might be overly confusing for the average user. With AirPlay 2 support, you'll be able to use Siri on your iPhone to start streaming audio to a Sonos speaker, but you can't start that playback with Alexa. Once audio's already playing, though, that's when Alexa steps in. I appreciate the variety of options, but it sounds like those options bring with them a lot of restrictions to remember.

As for hardware compatibility of AirPlay 2, it will be available on a limited number of Sonos devices:

AirPlay 2 will work with the Sonos One, (second generation) Play 5, and Playbase (and, ahem, “future products”). But if you have older speakers, owning any of those newer ones will make AirPlay 2 work with all of them.

That last line is intriguing, though unclear. Older devices can't actually become AirPlay 2 speakers, otherwise they would appear in the Home app as HomeKit devices – however, it makes sense that an existing HomeKit device that talks to older Sonos devices could serve as a translator of sorts, relaying AirPlay 2 commands over Sonos-native protocols.

We'll see how it all works when AirPlay 2 support arrives next month.

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HomePod Receiving AirPlay 2 and Calendar Support Today, Launching in More Countries Soon

Apple is releasing iOS 11.4 today, alongside a companion 11.4 update for the HomePod. Ahead of that release, Apple Newsroom shared details on exactly what we can expect.

Today's update will at last bring AirPlay 2 to iOS and, by extension, the HomePod. This will enable the multi-room audio and stereo pairing features that Apple first demonstrated on-stage at last year's WWDC. More in-depth coverage of AirPlay 2 features will be available in our iOS 11.4 overview, publishing when that update launches. And look out for a hands-on story covering the HomePod's new stereo pairing feature after it becomes available.

One other noteworthy feature coming to HomePod today is the addition of Calendar support. This works similarly to the other Personal Requests features of HomePod, which include Notes, Messages, and Reminders: only the Apple ID used to set up your HomePod will be able to share its Calendar information, and that data can only be accessed when you're at home on the same Wi-Fi network as HomePod.

Finally, Apple has announced three countries where HomePod will be launching soon: Canada, France, and Germany. The smart speaker will be available beginning Monday, June 18th.

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Rogue Amoeba Releases Airfoil Satellite TV for the Apple TV

Airfoil by Rogue Amoeba is a Mac app that lets you stream audio from a Mac to multiple connected devices using technologies like Bluetooth and AirPlay. I reviewed version 5 of Airfoil last year, and was impressed with its ability to stream audio to every device I could find in my home and keep them in perfect sync.

Rogue Amoeba has done some impressive reverse engineering of Apple’s OSes to make Airfoil work. The upside is Airfoil is a remarkable audio hub for anyone who wants to stream audio to virtually any connected device. The downside is that changes to Apple’s OSes can break Airfoil, which is what happened when Apple released tvOS 10.2. That update broke Airfoil streaming to Apple TVs that updated to the latest version of tvOS.

Since tvOS 10.2 was released about a month ago, Rogue Amoeba has been working on two solutions for customers. The first is Airfoil Satellite TV, a tvOS app that was released earlier this week. The app, which can receive an audio stream from Airfoil for macOS, is available as a free download on the Apple TV App Store. When you open Airfoil Satellite TV on your Apple TV, a new audio destination appears in Airfoil on your Mac named ‘Airfoil Satellite on [Your Apple TV Name].’ Pick that destination and music starts streaming from your Mac to your Apple TV.

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Vidyo, a Screen Recorder for iOS

Vidyo, a screen recording utility for iPhone and iPad available at $4.99 on the App Store, seems like one of those apps that will soon be removed by Apple. By simulating an AirPlay Mirroring connection to the app itself, Vidyo allows you to capture your device's screen even when you're not using the app – which means you can record your Home screen as well as other apps, saving everything to a video file on your device.

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Beamer 3 Launches with New User Interface, Google Chromecast Support

Following a two month public beta period, Beamer 3 was released earlier this month. Beamer, a favorite of the MacStories team, is a Mac app that allows you to easily stream video (in almost any format) to your Apple TV via AirPlay. In Beamer 3, streaming support has expanded beyond AirPlay and it can now stream to Google Chromecast.

The user interface has also been redesigned in Beamer 3, and now fits in better with OS X Yosemite and El Capitan. The new UI isn't just prettier, it's also more useful because it provides easier access to audio track and subtitle controls. Another new feature enables you to skip to the next video in your Beamer queue by double clicking the play button the Apple Remote. All of the new features are listed here.

Beamer 3 is available for $19.99 for new customers, and existing Beamer customers can "pay what you want" to upgrade to Beamer 3. Beamer 3 requires OS X Yosemite or El Capitan.


Beamer 3 Public Beta Available Today: Features Chromecast Support and a New User Interface

Beamer, a favorite Mac app of the MacStories team, is today launching a public beta of their third major release. For those unfamiliar with the app, Beamer is a Mac app that enables you to easily stream video (in almost any format) to your Apple TV via AirPlay.

The tentpole new feature of Beamer 3 is that it can now stream videos to Google Chromecast. Beamer 3 also has a redesigned interface that looks better on OS X Yosemite and has improved functionality, making it easier to access key options such as audio tracks and subtitles. You can also skip to the next video in your Beamer queue by double clicking the play button the Apple Remote. Beamer's developer also plans to implement further improvements during the beta period.

Beamer 3 is a free upgrade for existing Beamer 2 customers. During the beta period, new customers can purchase Beamer 3 for $15, discounted from the standard price of $19.99.


Peer-to-Peer AirPlay in iOS 8

From Apple's Enterprise webpage for iOS 8:

With iOS 8, you can wirelessly connect iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch to Apple TV without first connecting to the organization’s network. Which means you can present or share your work even if you’re offline or the organization has a complex network.

AirPlay with no network connection will make it easier to beam presentations (and games) wirelessly to an Apple TV when you can't connect to the Internet. Apple allowed Bluetooth-based setups for Apple TVs last year, and it's good to see them extending AirPlay's capabilities to make it more ubiquitous.

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