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Getting to know AirPlay 2: what the new protocol brings and how your life will change in practice

It became very clear in Monday's keynote: with the HomePod, Apple wants to redefine the experience of listening to music at home. But the rounded cylinder strangely identical to a cotton ball is just the ?physical? part of this endeavor on the software side, we have a name that stands out as the main responsible for managing this musical tangle: o AirPlay 2.

The new version of the streaming from Apple brings some basic differences in relation to AirPlay that we all know and love, and, from there, the doubts arise: are they inter-compatible? Will I be able to enjoy AirPlay 2 with my current devices? What is the meaning of life and the universe?

AirPlay 2 in action on iOS 11

Well, although not everything is completely clear and will remain so until the final release of iOS 11, many of these questions can already be satisfactorily answered. That is what we will do next.

What's the difference, anyway?

What distinguishes AirPlay from AirPlay 2, basically, the second's ability to manage multi-room audio transmission (multi-room). That is, while the original technology was a direct method of doing the streaming from one audio source to a specific speaker or device at a time, AirPlay 2 allows you to have multiple devices connected in your home and transmit content to them at the same time whether it is the same audio for everyone or even different things.

The cat's leap here is that AirPlay 2 connects with HomeKit, Apple's home automation API, as well as all devices compatible with the protocol. In this way, in addition to lamps, thermostats, kitchen appliances and beautiful company, the speakers scattered throughout your home also become part of its range of devices that you can control directly by iPhone or iPad.

Will my current devices continue to work?

Good of course. If you currently have speakers that work with the original AirPlay protocol, they will continue to work in exactly the same way that AirPlay 2 has always done, it just adds technology features, but it does not exclude the original tools of it that we all already know.

Now, if the question changes to "Will my AirPlay device be upgraded to AirPlay 2?", The answer is already quite different. For your speaker to work together with everyone else in the house, it needs to be upgraded to the AirPlay 2 protocol, which, according to Apple, perfectly possible Ma told the AppleInsider that AirPlay device manufacturers can update device firmware to support the new technology.

There is no indication, however, that companies will actually bother to do this when it is far more advantageous for them that users simply take the scorpion out of their pocket and buy new speakers that already come with the built-in protocol. So, in that regard, we will have to wait (and hope).

Where does HomePod come into this story?

The HomePod, in a way, is the ?flag bearer? of AirPlay 2 and will be the first product available on the market to bring support to new technology. It goes, however, in addition: in addition to a connected speaker, it is a Siri access device and also serves as hub HomeKit, centralizing home automation commands. In other words, there's a lot going on inside that soft fabric body.

Other manufacturers will launch their own AirPlay 2-related solutions Apple quoted Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Libratone and others, besides, of course, your own Beats , but the products of these companies will certainly not have all ambitions of HomePod, acting only as connected speakers, even.

But what about AirPorts?

You probably didn't ask that, because no one remembers AirPorts anymore, but I will answer anyway.

To little chosen in the subject, AirPort (do not read "AirPod") Apple's dying line of routers. The simplest product in the line, AirPort Express, brings a P2 output to connect the router to a ?dumb? speaker, without a wireless connection, via an auxiliary cable. In this way, it is possible to transmit audio via AirPlay to the AirPort and the router, in turn, passes the audio to the stereo via cable. Some users are adept at this solution for transmitting sound with minimal loss of quality (unlike, for example, the extremely compressed Bluetooth).

Rear of AirPort Express

The question whether Apple will update the firmware on the cheapest of its routers to allow integration with AirPlay 2 is a question that cannot be answered yet, but considering all indications that Ma would be abandoning the line, it is extremely likely that at the, AirPort Express never supports the new protocol. In other words, fans of the configuration described in the previous paragraph will have to be content to continue transmitting audio directly, without taking advantage of the multi-mode features or integration with HomeKit, which, frankly, is a boring loss, but it is not crucial.

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While iOS 11 does not take its final form and HomePod, as well as other devices compatible with the protocol, do not reach the market, these are the answers we have about AirPlay 2. Was there anything missing to clarify? Pour your anxieties about the uncertainty of your sonorous-connected future below in the comments and we will do everything to help. ?