Opinion: With Apple Music launched, it’s time for Apple to show AirPlay some love

Zeppelin-Air-C3lc

I love AirPlay. It’s simple and elegant. It also means that my elderly but much-loved B&O Ouverture hifi system (with BeoLab 6000 speakers) – which is actually so old that it has a cassette deck – needed only a low-cost WiFi audio receiver to allow it to wirelessly stream music from my MacBook Pro. One $40 add-on and a 20-year-old hifi became bang up to date in its capabilities.

With my particular setup, AirPlay does exactly what we expect of Apple products: It Just Works. I open iTunes, select ‘B&O’ from the speaker output menu, and anything I play in iTunes – whether from my own music library or streamed from Apple Music – plays through the hifi, while system sounds continue to play through the Mac speakers. My partner can stream her own music from her iPad or iPhone just as readily.

I’d previously tried a Bluetooth audio receiver, and the difference between that and AirPlay is night and day. No pairing. No worries about distance. No interference when someone walks between the Mac and hifi. No system sounds emerging at deafening volumes though my hifi speakers.

But despite my own happy experience of it, AirPlay is not without its problems … 

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First, cost. Go looking on apple.com for speakers (not as easy as it used to be since the online store lost its menu item), filter connections by AirPlay and you’re offered only three speakers, ranging in price from $400 to $2700. (Curiously, the two B&W offerings only show up if you search via iPad accessories.)

Things look superficially better if you search on Amazon – but take a closer look, and almost all the decent-quality AirPlay speakers at affordable prices are discontinued models. There’s an iHome iW1 for $85, for example, but the original price was $300 – a pretty steep price for a mid-range portable unit.

Look at anything current, and most models start at $200 and head upwards pretty rapidly from there. Which is fine if it’s the audio quality you’re paying for, but that often doesn’t appear to be the case. Take Logitech as an example. I bought a couple of the early BoomBoxes for the bedroom and bathroom. These streamed music from iTunes via Logitech’s own protocol. When the company launched the AirPlay equivalent, they were almost twice the price.

Whether that cost premium is due to Apple’s licensing terms, or it was just that not enough people know about AirPlay to get production costs down, I don’t know – but it has certainly created a downward spiral. Few mass-market consumers know that AirPlay exists, and the high cost of AirPlay hardware means that the standard has never really taken off in the way it deserves to.

The price of AirPlay speakers looks particularly steep when compared to the mass of Bluetooth speakers out there.

unreliability

Second, reliability. While my own experience, and that of many others, has been excellent, you don’t have to look at many AirPlay speaker reviews to see that not everyone has enjoyed the same flawless experience. The most common complaint is intermittent connectivity dropouts.

I connected and paired them easily enough and they sounded ok when they would work. The problem is that the signal would drop out for minutes at a time […]

The speakers simply do not work consistently, from the iMac or any remote device. This is more than an occassional drop out, which I could learn to live with […]

Others report lengthy delays in speakers responding when switching tracks.

These types of complaint can be found against AirPlay speakers at all price levels, and my colleague Jeremy Horwitz – who has reviewed more than his fair share of them – said that some companies even resorted to sending out WiFi routers with their review units simply because they’d found ones that were known to work well with AirPlay. A protocol that requires particular routers to work reliably is more than enough evidence that AirPlay needs more work.

AirPlay-C3

Third, AirPlay gets clunky when it comes to anything but the simplest of multi-room setups. There are a variety of approaches you can take, ranging from attaching an Airport Express or Apple TV to each speaker/set, through a number of third-party apps for both Mac and iOS devices. But the famed ease of use of AirPlay often disappears in this kind of setup.

Most multi-room audio systems – like those offered by Sonos, Yamaha and others – use proprietary systems that lock you into the company’s own hardware and apps. AirPlay, in contrast, is vendor-independent.

There’s a huge opportunity here for Apple to take on these companies by matching the simplicity they offer when it comes to multi-room speaker systems. Using the Apple TV as the hub would seem an obvious move, especially given the newly-expanded role of the device as a HomeKit hub.

AirPlay-C4

You don’t have to take my word for it that AirPlay needs some love: just go searching for newly-launched AirPlay speaker systems. The only company we could find showing one at CES this year was Moshi (watch out for a review by Zac Hall shortly).

Whether it’s manufacturers deciding that AirPlay is too unreliable to invest, or consumers unwilling to pay the price premium for a protocol that doesn’t give them everything they want, clearly there’s an issue. Apple needs to fix the reliability issues that appear to stem from flaws in the protocol itself, license it to manufacturers at a reasonable price and then give it enough PR that mass-market consumers get to know about it.

Apple might object to the idea of reduced license fees, but frankly, AirPlay is dying. Better to get a smaller cut of a growing market than a large slice of a diminishing one. And if Apple wants to make more money from AirPlay, it can do so from its own hardware: along with its purchase of Beats Music, it got a free audio company in Beats Electronics. (Actually, given the relative revenues, it got a free streaming music service with its acquisition of the audio company, but let’s not quibble.)

AirPlay is too good a system to be allowed to wander off quietly into the night. It is infinitely superior to Bluetooth, and doesn’t lock you into a single manufacturer for your audio hardware. With a little love from Apple, it could have a long and profitable future.

As always, take our poll and let us know your own views in the comments.

Images: Bowers & Wilkins

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Comments

  1. applegetridofsimandjack - 7 years ago

    AirPlay could definitely be improved, a lot.

    It’s a coincidence but it is just now that I am having AirPlay issues and looking to solve those problems.

    I bought the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air Lightning 2 months ago and every day, I have to reset the sound dock to work via AirPlay. Every time I leave home and come back, the AirPlay icon vanishes… And the Zeppelin Air’s indicator is flashing purple, meaning it’s trying to establish a connection with the wireless connection. I have a 200mpbs connection using abgn and the router is just 7 metres away from the Zeppelin, 2 walls of 9cm thick separating both. It’s absolutely frustrating, I already gave up on my AC router because the Zeppelin Air would loose contact with the wireless connection and start playing music from the device the music is coming from.

    Another problem with AirPlay is the sound delay. There is a 2-3 second delay before the sound dock knows what he has to play. Meaning that watching a movie using Airplay is impossible. Ok that’s not what it’s made for but still, it is also annoying while playing music, you have to wait 3 seconds after pressing the skip key to know what’s the next song.

  2. Shane Barker - 7 years ago

    I am SO glad this article has finally been written. It’s long overdue. My experience of AirPlay has always consisted of drop offs, absurd distance issues, and general sub-par performance. Still, I continue to use it because it’s a great concept and wonderful when it works correctly. Reliability updates would lead me to purchase better equipment… that wouldn’t be Apple. Maybe they should take their Beats acquisition to a new level?

  3. Peter Rooke - 7 years ago

    I used to use AirPlay, but it had one glaring problem for me – no matter what I did, music wasn’t synchronised properly in different rooms. I’d walk downstairs and for a few seconds when I could hear both sets of speakers there was a clear half-second-or-so mess.

    Since switching to Sonos I no longer need to keep music physically on my network – it’s all been uploaded to Google Play Music and streams perfectly to 4 Sonos speakers with absolute synchronicity. I use my Macs, iPads and iPhones to control it, but iTunes and AirPlay have been evicted from my home as the quality was no longer there.

    • estradajoefrank - 7 years ago

      Peter,

      I absolutely agree, and have done the same thing. After spending hundreds of dollars on expensive AirPlay compatible equipment, I ended up getting a whole house setup and am so glad I finally gave in to the quality that is Sonos. I integrated my AirPlay capable receivers with the Sonos connect, and the simplicity, quality, and ease is absolutely outstanding. I’m just upset I spent so long trying to do through AirPlay something that Sonos had perfected so long ago!

      • lesta09 - 7 years ago

        The only thing Sonos is missing is Apple Music but besides that, it is just about PERFECT. Love my 5 zones!

  4. whitestripe31 - 7 years ago

    Great article! The most frustrating part about AirPlay is that their no multi-room option in the iOS music app, yet there is in iTunes and the Remote app.

  5. 89p13 - 7 years ago

    Ben – Interesting, when I go to the Amazon product that you linked – the reviews are really mixed, with many people saying that their experience with this product is less than satisfactory. Many of the product reviewers describe the exact problems that you have not experienced.

    I think you’re spot on when you say that Apple is missing a real market product here.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 7 years ago

      Yes, indeed – AirPlay experience seems incredibly mixed. (Though a firmware upgrade was needed on receipt, which I think may explain mixed reviews of that particular product – whether or not it was done.)

  6. Jeff Konkel - 7 years ago

    Now that apple is getting serious again about music I would love to see a refresh of iTunes LP. I want interactive albums that let you truely experience the music. Not just a slideshow of some pictures and lyrics. Apple could put this in the hands of developers to really differentiate itself from its competitors.

  7. Ty Belisle (@Pifman) - 7 years ago

    My biggest complaint with AirPlay is that they got rid of the AirPlay icon in the standard (iOS 7/8) media player. Why on Earth?!

    First of all, it only showed up if you had an Apple TV that it recognized on the same Wi-Fi network. And second of all, turning AirPlay on via the Control Center menu is very clunky and takes several steps. A huge step backwards in usability.

  8. minieggseater - 7 years ago

    @ben and @whitestripe31 I agree the single most frustrating thing is no mufti room on iOS only iTunes. Although your post seems to suggest it’s possible with the remote app on iOS ? Is that correct ? what is the remote controlling ?

  9. Toddger (@Toddger) - 7 years ago

    I really like airplay and use it all the time. I’d love a multi-room capability if it could be made so sync properly. But most of all I’d like a super high quality device that could deliver either a digital signal to a DAC unit of my choosing, or a device that came with a high quality built in DAC that I could just plug into an amp as another input.

  10. Benjamin Ferguson - 7 years ago

    I went all-in with AirPlay when it first became more widely available, going so far as to purchase a Pioneer receiver with built-in airplay. However, over the past two years, I have slowly started integrating SONOS around my house and honestly, I am quite pleased with how it operates, sounds, and the integration into other aspects like Smartthings. Apple missed the boat with AirPlay IMO, and the fact that Apple Music is not yet integrated with SONOS is making me keep my Spotify account around longer than I’d like.

  11. Mario A Giambanco - 7 years ago

    There needs to be more ways to integrate it and maybe now that HomeKit is on it’s way to being integrated with iOS devices and Apple TV, that’ll happen, but it needs to happen.

    In my house and the house of a friends that I setup – I have 1 Airport Express hooked up to each channel of a multi channel amplifier to feed individual speakers around the house with individual streams. I have only 3 speakers (patio, kitchen and dining room) but my friend took it up to 6 “zones”. A bit expensive ($100 for each of the 6 airport expresses, the amp, the speakers, etc…) but it gets the job done without spending money on something like Creston.

    We need mini devices that connect to wifi and provide Airplay to a RCA / 3.5mm jack. Nothing more – no printing, no wifi access point, no ethernet jack. Just a Airplay relay. And it shouldn’t be $100 / each.

    The delay has never been a problem for me and my speakers are always in sync (the dining room and kitchen being < 15 feet away from each other) but configuration can be a nightmare. For weeks I had a problem where if I was sitting on my patio (40 feet away from the main Time Capsule in the family room) music would cut out every 3 or 4 minutes. Just completely die. Didn't matter if it was iTunes, Sirius XM, Pandora, whatever. Internet access was solid and I ran packet inspections, interference tools, and all kinds of tests to rule that out, but no matter what I did, Airplay was unstable at best.

    It finally took me to tear down the entire network, reconfigure everything (even new Wifi Network names) and clear all the devices of past APs to have a stable connection (I ultimately think this was due to the discoveryd problem, but I can't prove that).

    These really shouldn't be problems anymore.

  12. kevicosuave - 7 years ago

    I really agree that Apple needs to do more to get 3rd party support… especially with Sonos. I can’t imagine Apple is making any real money on licensing fees, but on the other hand, they’re missing out on additional hardware sales by not having AirPlay more embedding as a standard with 3rd parties.

  13. tincan2012 - 7 years ago

    I have been waiting for the Sonos controller to update, so that I can try our system with Apple Radio. Sonos just released an update to improve Spotify so clearly there is more attention on the Sonos-Spotify function than with Apple. The other functionality which many of us have hoped for is Airplay. There is a work around by using an Airport Express with audio out, and a Play 3 which has audio in, but you can not use the linked Sonos speakers with non Sonos speakers driven by AirPlay separately, as there is a 1 second delay between systems. From what I have read, the Sonos speakers can play AirPlay directly through a hack but that is not a long term solution. Most have concluded that Apple wants too much to license. I remain hopeful, as it does not seem like home speakers is an area that Apple wants to rule in.

    • tincan2012 - 7 years ago

      Sorry, the Play 5 has audio in, not the Play 3.

  14. modeyabsolom - 7 years ago

    Maybe AirPlay works better than Bluetooth, but the Bluetooth aptX codec sounds better. That’s another issue with AirPlay, the sound quality isn’t the best. Good article though, Apple really does need to improve it. But I fear this is just another Apple service (like Newsstand) that the company seems to have lost interest in. I think other new Apple initiatives like HomeKit (its take up so far is glacial from what I understand) and CarPlay will ultimately fall by the way side too because of this attitude.

  15. So glad someone has finally started pointing out that AirPlay needs some love from Apple. It was ahead of it’s time when it first came out but it now is getting quite long in the tooth. The issues as I see them, in no particular order:

    1) Latency. There is always a one or two second delay (due to buffering) between pressing a playback control on the master device (your Apple computer or iOS device) and hearing the effect on the playback device (the AirPlay enabled speaker or receiver). Compare that to Spotify Connect and Sonos, where control changes and playback are near instantaneous; it’s as if your host device was connected directly to the speakers with an audio cable.

    2) Streaming data from the host device doesn’t always make sense. In addition to introducing some latency, it also drains battery life on mobile devices because the wifi chip on the host device is in near continuous operation. I’d like Apple to recognise that, these days, there are common use cases where it makes more sense for the playback device to pull down the data directly from the cloud, like Spotify Connect or Google Cast. When I use Spotify Connect, playback starts the very instant I press play on the host application. Same for track changes etc. I’d like Apple to somehow build in smart switching so that, seamlessly, AirPlay either streams the data either from the cloud or the host device, depending on the use case. So, for example, playback of music from Apple Music would be streamed directly from the cloud to the playback device(s) but playback of a podcast stored on my iOS device would be streamed over the local network in the traditional AirPlay way.

    2) Audio quality is not as good as it should be, especially when the playback device is an Apple TV. I presumed that AirPlay would be “transparent” from an audio perspective but my own ears tell me otherwise. I’ve done many tests over the years, with different equipment. My current AV receiver supports AirPlay and my PS4, which is hooked up to it, supports Spotify Connect. Songs played directly from the cloud via the PS4 sound excellent on my floor standing speakers; really weighty at the bottom end and sparkly on the top end. When I stream the same song from Spotify running on my MacBook or iOS devices (again, Spotify is the host application) via AirPlay the sound is somehow more withdrawn, dull and dark. My hypothesis is that AirPlay involves transcoding which throws away a lot of low and high end frequency information. Sure, I accept that you probably need prosumer or audiophile level equipment to hear the different, but it is there and once you hear it you can never unhear it. As an aside, the second and third generation Apple TVs seem to have particularly poor sound quality, even where AirPlay isn’t the sound source.

    3) Cost. As per the article, AirPlay speakers are too expensive relative to the (very strong) competition.

    4) No multi-room support when iOS devices are the host device. This is a major drawback compared to Sonos et al.

    5) Reliability. Sometimes the host device seems to lose the ability to control the playback device. Or there are drop-outs. Or the playback device doesn’t display the name of the song, album art etc. The list goes on but there’s little doubt that AirPlay is not as reliable as we’ve come to expect from most Apple technologies.

  16. jeremyp78 - 7 years ago

    My sentiments exactly! With the new Apple TV coming out I’d be surprised if this isn’t addressed. What is HomeKit without entertainment? Apple Music without whole home audio? I just don’t understand Apple sometimes. Take for example the Remote app on iOS. It is obviously considered a pet project. It takes months and months to get updated and is constantly broken by new updates. It still doesn’t have a notification screen widget and the Apple Watch version doesn’t let you pick more than one AirPlay speaker to broadcast to. Apple needs to stop neglecting their current products but give them the same love as their new ones. Perhaps seeing the big picture and how they can all tie in together would help them. Makes me wonder what management is doing over there sometimes. My 2 cents.

  17. Cheuk Seto - 7 years ago

    AirPlay did seem like big deal when it was first introduced (like any Apple’s new foray into anything). But I always wondered why weren’t there any AirPlay wireless headphones? Back when it was introduce, Bluetooth stereo headphones quality was terrible, and sounded little better than FM radio. But now, Bluetooth had been updating its technology in newer devices, making power consumption, latency and sound quality (to average consumers) almost non-issues. Maybe Apple just didn’t bother anymore and rather pour the funding into iPhones and other devices instead?

  18. babywrinkels - 7 years ago

    I live in a house with a fellow nerd. Both of us “have connections.” We have 4 Airport Expresses set as endpoints (not re-broadcasting wifi), 2 Airport Extremes and a Time Capsule (all current gen), one for each floor of the house, in Access Point mode. 3 more Apple TVs that are also capable of AirPlay. Time Capsule is set as the main router (assigns IP addresses). All network hardware (AEX, AEXP, TC) is hardwired via cat 6e to an enterprise-grade gigabit switch.

    Trying to stream audio from iTunes or Spotify (using AirFoil) to my airplay enabled receiver (everything hardwired, including the receiver), it plays fine for about 20-25 mins and then starts sounding like it’s buffering. Same thing happens from MacBook Pro (15″ Retina, latest gen) connected via 802.11ac. Same thing happens going to the airport express connected speakers.

    Our entire network is as close to enterprise-grade as any I’ve ever seen in a home installation, and uses Apple hardware almost exclusively. Our hardware at both ends is all up to date – and STILL we have buffering/playback issues???

    AirFoil solves my multi-room issues and works amazingly well – much better than streaming using the built-in “AirPlay to…” functionality in iTunes.

    AirPlay desperately needs some lovin’ from Apple.

  19. I would love to see AirPlay improved. I use it most of the time and I can’t stand bluetooth speaker even if I have two bluetooth speaker.
    I see a big future for wireless multi room audio been mainstream and I can’t wait to see Apple jump in there.
    In fact, I would not be surprise if next month or next year Apple itself release a set of AirPlay speaker with a new and improved protocol due it’s acquisition of Beats giving them some knowledge in speakers system. With a new Apple TV coming, I would not be a perfect time to push AirPlay and to offer a wireless home theatre system using AirPlay and the Apple TV. To add to that, Apple AirPlay speakers is one the thing Apple would need to get another share of the consumer electronic market and on a business point of view would easily make sense and most probably be a viable source of income. I can’t wait to see if what I expect to happen will actually happen.

  20. Hey Ben, I agree with most of what you said. I have a similar setup at home and most of the time, it works pretty well. I listen to a lot of old school radio (via tune in on an old iPad) and music via Apple Music on the iPad or on the Mac, whatever is more convenient. And good old vinyl.

    Without being an expert it seems to me that every competitor with a more stable system (Sonos, Raumfeld, Bang & Olufsen’s Immaculate sound) uses a dedicated network with different frequencies, instead if the home wifi, as far as I understand it. So maybe some of the flaws are concessions to using wifi. But I would appreciate it, of course, if Apple engineers would find a way that combines Airplay’s simplicity with a better performance. Maybe they could release a new router like the one Google introduced recently for more stable connections.

    If you don’t need you Beosound’s tape player anymore, you should definitely consider the new Essence. It comes with Airplay. And the 2nd generation with B&O’s own new multiroom system is awesome.

  21. taoprophet420 - 7 years ago

    Cost for hardware makers is the main problem I see and it’s showing up in HomeKit devices as well. It’s been 14. I the since HomeKit was announced and only a handful of devices are available.

    HomeKit is pretty hidden on iOS now. With Apple Music I imagine record labels put pressure in Apple to limit AirPlay. Apple has put virtually zero effort into 3 party sound systems since they dropped 30 pin for lighting cables. AirPlay has been an afterthought for Apple for a long time now.

  22. Techsticles - 7 years ago

    The iHome iW1 is a disaster. It rarely stays connected to the network but even when it does audio cuts out.

    As for multiple speakers in iOS, devices seem to have trouble streaming to just one speaker.

    AirPlay cuts out at times when playing from an iPhone but if I stream from a Mac it usually works to multiple speakers but that’s another thing. You need a third party app like AirFoil on the Mac to send non-iTunes audio to multiple speakers.

    Apple has your money already. They don’t care.

  23. tynkrmedia (@Tynkrmedia) - 7 years ago

    I know it’s a pain in the arse but I just prefer wired solutions. Bluetooth, Airport they’re just not consistent, especially with multiple devices in the house. I’m back to having a jack someone can plug into and off they go. I’ve a $100 Yamaha bluetooth speaker in the basement that was made redundant after about 6 months so I just don’t trust companies to make consistent products that connect solely over wireless.

  24. I have been an Apple fan from day one and I have sold a lot of Apple Product due to good technology and airplay features but…. Sonos provides a better experience. Apple hardware and OS plays nicely with Sonos, Sonos allows you to play different music in different zones with independent volume. Apple does not provide different music in different zones unless you play from a 2nd Apple OS of some sort. Not good. Oh and the B & W Zeppelin, nice sound but what a crap device for wireless. Firmware updates never made it any better. As for Apple Music, it will come to Sonos but I am not concerned. Deezer and Tidal among other services have lots of tracks and Tidal and Deezer are a higher bit rate than Apple’s shoddy Music recordings. Apple should have bought Sonos when they had the chance, but regardless you can’t go wrong with Sonos!

  25. msthree (@msthree) - 7 years ago

    https://www.rogueamoeba.com/airfoil/ Fantastic app(s) for Sonos-like multi-room experience with Airplay + synch audio and even a synch video player for desktop devices.

  26. galley99 - 7 years ago

    My only problem is that it sometimes cuts out when the microwave is running. My older AirPort Express doesn’t support 5 GHz.

  27. Gman (@gman1113) - 7 years ago

    This article is spot on. I’ve invested over $2k in speakers and airport expresses to have music around my house and in hind sight wish I would have done Sonos instead. I was an early adopter of AirPlay and kept hoping that Apple would wise up and take on Sonos…sadly they didn’t. Apple could absolutely own this market if they chose to. I probably will not continue my apple music subscription because AirPlay is not where it needs to be. Is anyone at Apple listening??? Please fix AirPlay!

  28. Thomas Massengale - 7 years ago

    FYI, the key to reliable AirPlay (and multiroom media i general) is ethernet. Trust me. I install it for a living.

    • Techsticles - 7 years ago

      Ethernet? What is this? 2014?

      It’s called AirPlay. The keyword being “Air”.

      All kidding aside, the AirPort Express is my most reliable AirPlay device.

  29. Richy Allum - 7 years ago

    I would like to invest in airplay as a whole house music system but I haven´t up until this moment and i think article is long overdue in pointing out that airplay is in need of some updates.

    Things that stopped me buying into it were:-

    Firstly complaints of drop outs in music and connection problems bluetooth seemed more stable. Although one thing I like was paying though the WiFi with no range anxiety and no compression over airplay.
    Secondly, I cant use my phone to play to multiple speakers, I use my phone for listening to music around the house more than my mac and I would like to control that from my phone.
    Thirdly, airplay has very few waterproof or battery operated speakers, I like audio quality and so I´d rather spend on one quality speaker now and add to it over time but the first speaker would have to be batter operated so I can move it around. This is the biggest one because with apple losing interest in multiform audio I don´t want to invest in something that´s not perfect now because there´s no guarantee the problems will be fixed. It´s a shame but I can´t trust apple to sort this one (unlike their OS) out and I see the competition gaining ground as a result I´ve decided to go for bluetooth instead as I don´t want to be stuck in one proprietary system like sonos and prefer not to use a dedicate app as it means I can´t pay youtube or other stuff out my speakers if I want.

  30. Lucas Randall (Codenix) - 7 years ago

    Thanks for this article. I’ve been hunting around for some inexpensive AirPlay 30pin iPod dock dongles which hit the market a couple of years ago when Apple launched the Lightning connector, but the ones which were available are now hard to find. I suspect the AirPlay issues you spoke of may have undermined their market.

    I currently use a couple of Raspberry Pi devices with a light-weight Raspbian build and an AirPlay + DLNA service, connected via 3.5mm audio to some old (and otherwise useless), 30pin iPod docks. Raspberry Pis are sub $30 now (there’s even a new $5 one), and considering the low hardware requirements of AirPlay, they do the job very well.

    I stream iTunes music from the cloud, or other internet radio via my iPhone or Mac all day long, and it’s so much better than the Bluetooth options I’ve tried over the years. Unlike some commenters here, mine doesn’t seem to drop out, although I have them hard-wired directly via Ethernet.

    Occasionally I have to restart the Raspberry Pi when it stops ending audio to the speakers, but this is pretty rare and restarting it is just a matter of pulling the 5V power plug if I’m nearby, or running a bash script via SSH from my phone or iPad if I’m feeling lazy.

    As happy as I am with this, it’s nowhere near “market ready” for the average consumer. It’s such a shame, because it clearly has loads of potential, and for me is just perfect for use in the kitchen or living room.

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!


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