AirPort Express now supports AirPlay 2

Today Apple pushed out a firmware update for the 2012 AirPort Express. The current version is 7.8. This firmware adds support for AirPlay 2. AirPlay 2 was added with iOS 11.4.1 and will allow you to stream the same audio to multiple rooms, or stream multiple items to different speakers. The latest firmware allows you to use the AirPort Express as an AirPlay 2 destination.

It is important to note that this only applies to the 2012 AirPort Express, which supports 802.11n networking. This does not apply to the original AirPort Express. If the back of your AirPort Express looks like the one below, it will be able to support AirPlay 2.

In order to update, you will need to use the AirPort Utility to perform the update on your AirPort Express.

Even though Apple discontinued the AirPort line as of April, they are still supporting it for a few more years. It may not get many updates, but it is nice to see it getting some additional features.

Source: MacObserver via David Chartier.

Apple HomePod iOS tvOS watchOS

Apple Releases iOS 11.4

Today Apple has released iOS 11.4, watchOS 4.3.1, and tvOS 11.4. Along with this, Apple announced some changes to the availability of the HomePod.

The HomePod will be available in additional countries start June 18th. These countries are Canada, France, and Germany.

The biggest features of iOS 11.4 is AirPlay 2, including on the HomePod. AirPlay 2 was at Apple’s WWDC 2017 event. The biggest feature of AirPlay 2 is that it supports multi-room audio and the HomePod can be used in stereo mode.

I have been using iOS 11.4 since the first beta, but I was not able to test iOS 11.4 on the HomePod. I installed iOS 11.4 on the HomePod, and tried a couple of different configurations. The configuration that I was most interested in using is:

  • Video going to my Apple TV, via AirPlay from my iPad
  • Audio on the HomePod, via AirPlay

Unfortunately, this configuration is not supported. Similarly, you cannot AirPlay to an Apple TV and output via the HomePod. Therefore, I am still stuck watch This Old House and using the audio from my TV. Maybe in iOS 12 this will change.

Besides AirPlay 2, there is an additional feature of iOS 11.4, Message in the Cloud. Messages in the Cloud is designed to have all of your messages available on all of your devices in the same order. Additionally, all of your messages are stored in iCloud, to make all of this possible.

iOS 11.4 does include some security updates, so it is best to update as soon as possible. The details of what security items were fixed are not yet available.

Source: Apple