Bluetooth headphones are nearly ubiquitous, and an upcoming feature called Auracast will allow computers or phones to stream music to not just one Bluetooth receiver but all of them in the area.
While one goal of Bluetooth’s Auracast broadcast audio is to let people share their music with groups, it also has more practical uses.
Bluetooth Auracast broadcast audio has fun and practical applications
Listening to music on earbuds has always been a private experience. But with Auracast, it won’t have to be. A whole group can listen to songs together without disturbing the people around them.
The entertainment uses are obvious. Someone enjoying a great song can invite friends to join in using their own Auracast-enabled Bluetooth earbuds. And there are practical applications as well. Someone could connect their headphones to the public address system of an airport and be sure they’ll hear announcements like gate changes and boarding schedules.
The feature, which is still in development, “enables an audio transmitter, such as a smartphone, laptop, television, or public address system to broadcast audio to an unlimited number of nearby Bluetooth audio receivers,” according to a statement from the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, the trade association that oversees Bluetooth technology.
The specifications that define Auracast broadcast audio are part of Bluetooth LE Audio and are expected to be released within the next few months.
“The introduction of Auracast broadcast audio will enable us to move from personal wireless listening experiences to shared wireless listening experiences, unlocking the full potential of wireless audio and bringing even more value and delight to our customers,” said Zeng Xuezhong, a Xiaomi SVP.
Will Apple join in?
Whether Apple will incorporate the feature into Mac, iPhone and AirPods is not yet known. But Apple is not only part of the Bluetooth SIG, it has a seat on the board of directors.
That said, Cupertino has a proprietary method of wireless audio sharing. iPhone users can share songs and watch movies with a friend while using their own AirPods. So it’s possible Apple might skip Auracast.