AirPlay 2 Arrives: Which speakers support Apple's multi-room audio tech?

Tyler Lizenby  CNET

Tyler Lizenby CNET

Anyone with a compatible Apple TV or Apple Watch is able to grab the latest tvOS and watchOS OTA updates right now from the respective update mechanisms found on the respective devices themselves.

Apple has released iOS 11.4 which means we all get to finally try AirPlay 2, Apple's streaming feature that has been in development for nearly a year now.

This has been a long-awaited feature. The iOS 11.4 update also brings the ability to store your messages on iCloud, apart from a bunch of performance improvements and bug fixes. Also if you delete a Message on any device it will be removed from other synced devices as well.

Airplay 2 is the successor to the original Airplay protocol and one of the biggest changes is support for wireless multi-room audio, meaning that you can play the same music throughout the home on all your Airplay 2 capable speakers – or different tunes in each room. But, with AirPlay 2, you can finally pick a song and control the volume of your AirPlay 2-enabled speaker from Control Center, Music app, Home app, the Lock screen, or in-app controls on your Apple devices. But, when you play music from your iOS device, you will be able to select which speakers and control individual volumes of those speakers. It includes stereo pairing support for AirPlay 2 and the HomePod smart speaker. The update allows the HomePod and Apple TV (the two Apple devices that now support AirPlay 2), as well as forthcoming third-party AirPlay 2 devices, to play the same audio throughout your home or only in select areas of your home. Scroll down to the list of apps with iCloud support and toggle on Messages. This helps developers make educational apps that can function with Apple's Schoolwork app.

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Getting the iOS 11.4 update is simple enough. Apple will be hosting its WWDC on 4 June, where the company will be introducing the new iOS 12, and if rumors are right, three new iPhones.

Anyway, as it turns out, there is a much more important feature in iOS 11.4 than AirPlay 2 stereo pairing. Users will need WiFi on their iOS device in order to download the update.

Like the original AirPlay format, AirPlay 2 will also be built into a range of third-party wireless speakers and amplifiers from the likes of Sonos, Bang & Olufsen, Bose, Pioneer, Denon and Marantz.

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