A new version of Apple’s AirPlay wireless audio technology will
allow users to synchronize audio on multiple speakers
throughout the home.
Whole-home audio controls will become part of
Apple’s Home app, which lets users control smart home
devices in each room of the house. From a new “Speakers”
section, users can toggle music and adjust volume on a per-room
The Apple TV will function as a whole-home audio device as
well, so users can launch music on the big screen—using either
the touch remote or Siri—and have audio play on other speakers
as well. To start, whole-home audio will work with Apple Music,
but an API will become available for other music apps that want
to support the feature.
Apple says it has more than a dozen speaker partners on board
to support AirPlay 2, including Bang & Olufsen, Bose,
Marantz, Libratone, and of course Apple’s own Beats brand. It’s
unclear whether this will work with existing speakers or
require new ones.
Apple isn’t the first company to offer whole-home audio
support. This feature has been a staple of
Sonos speakers for years, and we’ve seen several other
speaker makers offer their ecosystems, such as
Yamaha MusicCast and
DTS Play Fi. Google also offers multi-room audio between
Chromecast Audio dongle and several
Compared to those systems, Apple won’t have broad support for
music services, at least not out of the gate. But it does have
the advantage of offering the world’s most popular smartphone,
with a built-in app and voice assistant as the remote controls.
The whole-home update should be part of iOS 11, due out this