Dave asked earlier if Apple’s AirPlay was able to stream to multiple speakers (or devices) from iOS.
It is a good question that we didn’t have the answer to so we decided to find out for ourselves and post our findings (including a workaround) below.
Since there are currently no available AirPlay speakers, I picked up two AirPort Express units and hooked them up to two different sets of speakers. One to my awesome Audio Engine A5’s and another to my component system in the living room.
Connecting the AirPort Express units to my network was fairly straightforward. I plugged one into the AC outlet on my Audio Engine A5 and the other into a wall socket beside the component system. Once you plug in the AirPort Express units they power up automatically (there’s no on/off switch). From there you go to Applications > Utilities > AirPort Utility on your Mac and follow the on screen instructions to connect them to your network. You’ll also need to plug these into your speakers or stereo system using an audio cable.
As soon as they’re connected you’ll notice a rectangle being penetrated from underneath by a triangle symbol in any app that uses the standard media control (iPod, Pandora, YouTube). This is the AirPlay symbol.
Selecting this brings up the available devices to send audio to. You simply select the device and you’re music streams wirelessly over WiFi to the AirPort Express unit (in our case) and into the speaker from the audio out connection.
Amazing! Well.. not that amazing since you can only select one of these devices from iOS, but there is somewhat of a workaround. Rejoice!
From here you can select multiple devices. So I was able to select both my AirPort Express units and my MacBook Pro. You can control the music wirelessly through your iOS device (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad) and adjust volume levels for each speaker.
The downside to this is you can only listen to the music in your iTunes library located on your computer (Mac/PC) and stream to multiple speakers. You can’t listen to Pandora on your iPad and stream to multiple speakers or watch a music video on YouTube on your iPhone and stream to multiple speakers. Bummer.
AirPlay is a great new addition, but Apple needs to update AirPlay so you can stream to multiple devices (speakers, computers, airport express units, etc) from iOS.
There are rumours of an iOS 4.3 update coming next month so maybe it will be there but we’ll just have to wait and see.
What else would you like to see AirPlay do for you?