Apple’s ancient AirPort Express miraculously gets AirPlay 2 support

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AirPort Express
With Air Port 2 support added, the AirPort Express is your ticket to whole-house audio.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

It’s possible you have an old AirPort Express wireless router in a box somewhere. Dig it out and set it up, because it can now be used as part of an AirPlay 2 audio system.

Even though it’s been discontinued, Apple just issued a firmware update for the second-generation AirPort Express that adds AirPlay 2 support.

Sonos speakers just got smarter with AirPlay 2 upgrade

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Sonos supports AirPlay2
Sonos speakers connect to over 80 streaming services.
Photo: Sonos

Sonos is opening its speakers to a new world of listening experiences today with the addition of AirPlay 2.

The smart speaker company teased AirPlay 2 support last month during the introduction of its Beam speaker. Now, just over a month after Apple added AirPlay 2 as part of iOS 11.4, Sonos is the first third-party speaker company to dive head first into the new tech. And the company added a few tricks your HomePod can’t match.

Sonos busts out new Beam sound bar, plus AirPlay 2 support

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sonos beam
Sonos Beam is sleek but packs a punch.
Photo: Sonos

Sonos is making a power play to take over your living room with its latest smart speaker called Sonos Beam.

Beam is a new sound bar that is smaller than Sonos’ Playbar and Playbase, but it also packs some new features like a five-microphone array and it plays well with Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and of course, Siri.

Watch out HomePod, this thing looks amazing:

iOS 11.4 adds AirPlay controls to Siri

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Siri do not disturb
You can now use Siri on your iPhone to control music on your HomePod.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is about to let Siri control your AirPlay speakers.

As part of the latest beta for iOS 11.4, Apple has added the ability to use AirPlay commands through Siri, allowing users to use Siri on their iPhone to play something on their HomePod.

iOS 11.4 public beta arrives with AirPlay 2

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Apple HomePod smart speaker
AirPlay 2.0 makes HomePod even better.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

HomePod owners no longer need to be a developer to test AirPlay 2.

Apple seeded the first public beta of iOS 11.4 to testers today, allowing anyone who signs up for the beta testing program to play with some of the new features coming out later this spring.

How to create a sleep playlist for your HomePod

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Siri speaker
Look into my eye. You are feeling sleepy…
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

This tip is less of a how-to, and more of a why-to. Did you ever think about creating a sleep playlist for your HomePod? It’s a great idea for a few reasons.

  • You can control the HomePod with your voice, from your bed.
  • The HomePod is silent when it’s not playing back audio, so you don’t have to turn it off or listen to it hiss.

Let’s see how it’s done.

Stream audio from iOS to multiple HomePods with AirFoil

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HomePod
AirFoil is the missing link between your Mac and your HomePod.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Do you want to stream music from an app on your Mac to your HomePod? Good luck with that. The only app that supports AirPlay streaming is iTunes, and what’s the point in using that if you can stream your iCloud Music Library directly using the HomePod alone? For apps like Spotify, or VLC, you can resort to streaming your entire Mac system audio via Airplay, but then you have to listen alerts booming through the HomePod, and you can’t remote-control the Spotify Audio using Siri.

But if you use Rogue Amoeba’s AirFoil, you can fix all these problems.

20 HomePod tips you need to know

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The HomePod is a lot smarter than you might think. Just take a look at these tips!
The HomePod is a smarter speaker than you might think.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The HomePod takes a lot of flak for being the dumbest smart speaker around, but it can do more than you might think. In today’s video, I’ll show you 20 HomePod tips you need to know.

(Just a quick heads-up: I’m going to be saying “Hey Siri” a few times in this video.)