Apple enables basic AirPlay 2 functionality in iOS 11.3, tvOS 11.3 betas

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2018
With Wednesday's release of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3, Apple is slowly rolling out support for AirPlay 2, a hotly anticipated wireless protocol that allows users to stream music to, and remotely control, multiple devices in different rooms.




As the new capability is only available on iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3, the supported device set is currently limited to Apple TV models capable of running tvOS. That means beta testers looking to try out the new feature will need at least two fourth-generation Apple TV, or Apple TV 4K, units and an iOS device as a controller.

With AirPlay 2, beta testers can simultaneously stream music from an iPhone or iPad to multiple Apple TV devices through the Home app. The Apple TV units can be in separate rooms, similar to multi-speaker solutions offered by OEMs like Sonos.

The current implementation does not appear to be a polished, finalized version of AirPlay 2, as only barebones remote control support is provided. Users can start and stop music streams on multiple Apple TV devices, which output sound through a connected television or speaker, but more advanced operations like track selection, shuttle controls and volume are not yet available.

Apple first announced AirPlay 2 at the Worldwide Developers Conference in 2017. The wireless standard builds on the original AirPlay with multi-room audio, HomeKit integration and other system-level improvements that allow users to listen to and control content throughout their house.

When it sees launch, AirPlay 2 will boast a collaborative "Up Next" feature for sharing playlists with friends.

Apple previously said that existing AirPlay-compatible devices can be updated to support AirPlay 2, but the company has provided little information beyond its initial announcement. Third-party speaker manufacturers, including Sonos, have pledged compatibility for AirPlay 2, though none have released products that support the standard.

At CES this year, AppleInsider discussed the issue with a number of speaker manufacturers, some of whom said Apple has yet to supply them with the software needed to implement the protocol. That could soon change with the release of iOS 11.3.

Interestingly, Apple's own HomePod, due for release on Feb. 9, will not support multi-room audio at launch. The delay could be related to the speaker's firmware, however, as stereo sound through HomePod pairing is also slated for release "later this year."

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    in TVos-- that might mean for Apple TV to be connected to home pod I hope
    AirunJae
  • Reply 2 of 19
    I wonder more and more why I need my Apple TV?  Has anyone noted the new smart tv’s?
  • Reply 3 of 19
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,748member
    revenant said:
    in TVos-- that might mean for Apple TV to be connected to home pod I hope
    If they aren't working to add Apple TV support then they aren't seeing the big picture.


    Chuckit said:
    I wonder more and more why I need my Apple TV?  Has anyone noted the new smart tv’s?
     I use my Apple TV more all the time. The UI on my 2016 Smart TV isn't nearly as fast or slick when pulling up the same app. The TV is literally now just a dumb monitor since Amazon Prime Video is available, with even the networking disabled its remote put away in a drawer somewhere since HDMI-CEC works perfectly.
    edited January 2018 StrangeDayslollivercharlesgres
  • Reply 4 of 19
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,646member
    It’s a bit like car manufacturers, absolutely rubbish at entertainment system interfaces. TV manufacturers have trouble with a decent UI, and then how long will they support the apps? 
    Better to have a cheap seperate box to provide the apps, although Apple seem to have neglected the cheap bit.
    edited January 2018 StrangeDaystokyojimucharlesgresGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 5 of 19
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,413member
    Chuckit said:
    I wonder more and more why I need my Apple TV?  Has anyone noted the new smart tv’s?
    If I could have paid less and gutted my 2017 Sony 900E's smart features I would have happily. As it is, I never use my TV's smart features. Android TV OS is pure rubbish. Tizen's barely better. Nobody supports Web OS. And, margins are so tight in the fiercely competitive TV market that the manufacturers use cheap, underpowered processors that can barely handle the TV navigation and settings interface, much less the smart apps. And what happens when your smart TV gets left behind when it no longer supports updates?   No thanks. I'll keep using my Apple TV 4K. It's not perfect, but far better than any smart TV I've ever used. 
    StrangeDaysravnorodomlollivercharlesgresGeorgeBMacAirunJaewatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 6 of 19
    I disconnected my set from the network long ago. The port is more valuable to me than its “smart tv” features ever were. It’s just a monitor output from the receiver. 
    lollivercharlesgresGeorgeBMacbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 7 of 19
    The ability to stream music to multiple Apple TVs has been functional on Mac OS for some time now. Not sure how long, but I've been using that function for awhile. Still have to see it work with IOS.
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 8 of 19
    "Apple's own HomePod, due for release on Feb. 9, will not support multi-room audio at launch."

    I find this disturbing...   While I understand that Apple has to get it's foot into this market before it gets left behind, it sounds like they are rushing out a half baked product.  The whole home automation thing at Apple feels fragmented and uncoordinated -- and very UnAppleLike.

    That said, I really like the potential that AirPlay 2 will be able to provide. 
  • Reply 9 of 19
    would one be able to send multiple audio streams to one apple tv from multiple devices and have it mix them ?
  • Reply 10 of 19
    thedbathedba Posts: 474member
    sxpert said:
    would one be able to send multiple audio streams to one apple tv from multiple devices and have it mix them ?
    You mean like a Beethoven symphony and Justin Bieber?
    lukeiStrangeDaysrevenantjony0
  • Reply 11 of 19
    lukeilukei Posts: 332member
    sxpert said:
    would one be able to send multiple audio streams to one apple tv from multiple devices and have it mix them ?
    No
  • Reply 12 of 19
    Interestingly, Apple's own HomePod, due for release on Feb. 9, will not support multi-room audio at launch.
    Isn't this simply because iOS 11.3 will not be released before Feb. 9?
    edited January 2018
  • Reply 13 of 19
    "Apple's own HomePod, due for release on Feb. 9, will not support multi-room audio at launch."

    I find this disturbing...   While I understand that Apple has to get it's foot into this market before it gets left behind, it sounds like they are rushing out a half baked product.  The whole home automation thing at Apple feels fragmented and uncoordinated -- and very UnAppleLike.
    It’s not half baked because that isn’t going to be a prime use case for most customers. Most customers will only ever have one. Thus to be half baked it has to not deliver on prime use cases. 
  • Reply 14 of 19
    lukei said:
    sxpert said:
    would one be able to send multiple audio streams to one apple tv from multiple devices and have it mix them ?
    No
    Damn. 
  • Reply 15 of 19
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,748member
    "Apple's own HomePod, due for release on Feb. 9, will not support multi-room audio at launch."

    I find this disturbing...   While I understand that Apple has to get it's foot into this market before it gets left behind, it sounds like they are rushing out a half baked product.  The whole home automation thing at Apple feels fragmented and uncoordinated -- and very UnAppleLike.

    That said, I really like the potential that AirPlay 2 will be able to provide. 
    Half-baked:




    Fully-baked but doesn't come with the the variety of frosting flavors, sprinkles, or candles that you wanted from a mature product:



    That second photo is what every new product category from Apple has been. The iPhone is an excellent example of this.


    Would you rather Apple be like how Samsung sees fully baked? Gross


    edited January 2018
  • Reply 16 of 19
    I haven't tried the new AirPlay yet, but maybe someone who has downloaded the beta can answer:

    1. Will it support individual zone volume control (as MacOS does through iTunes), and
    2. Will it support audio delay adjustment? (like Airfoil)

    The second is really a desire to have that built into iOS and MacOS as part of AirPlay versus having to use/license another app.  I have a multi-room audio set up that uses AirPlay compatible receivers and Airport Express boxes connected to a distribution amp.  I can stream to multiple zones using iTunes, which works great except that due to the slight delay in different receivers the audio is out of sync in each of the zones.  This causes weird echoes which is easy enough to solve using a slight delay adjustment.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 19
    bbhbbh Posts: 68member
    You might mention in your headline that the 11.3 release is BETA, not the consumer release.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    sxpert said:
    would one be able to send multiple audio streams to one apple tv from multiple devices and have it mix them ?
    What, like this?  :p

    Oh, right; no embedding… 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CrbGXdaRB0
  • Reply 19 of 19
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,414administrator
    bbh said:
    You might mention in your headline that the 11.3 release is BETA, not the consumer release.
    Since we published the story, the headline has always had the word beta in it.
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