Under The Microscope

2017 WWDC Follow-Up

Last month, Apple held their annual Worldwide Developers Conference in sunny San Jose. They unveiled new hardware and new software, which has led to plenty of questions from our users. We don’t yet have a lot of answers, but here’s what we know so far.

Updates for MacOS

First up, Apple announced the next version of MacOS. MacOS 10.13 will be called “High Sierra”, and it will be officially released some time this fall. Early beta versions have been made available, and we’ve already begun testing our software.

We’ve updated our status page with details on where things stand, and that page will continue to be updated over time. As you can see, we’ve already got partial support for the new OS in all of our applications. Fully supported High Sierra releases are still some ways off, as we can’t sign off on them until Apple is done making major changes to the OS. We’ll be releasing additional updates over the coming months though, so stay tuned.

When to Update

We strongly encourage users to be conservative in updating the operating system on their Macs. If you do anything critical on your computer (and who doesn’t?), it’s likely best to hold off on updating until the official release of High Sierra. The public betas Apple provides generally work, but they’re far from complete, and you’re likely to run into bugs both small and big. For the best experience, wait until the official release of High Sierra in the fall, and be sure the apps you use every day are ready for it.

What We Know, And Don’t Know, About AirPlay 2

Users have had many questions about AirPlay 2. While Apple has touted AirPlay 2’s ability to stream to multiple devices, many folks know that’s already possible with Airfoil. If you’re looking to send audio from any app to multiple AirPlay outputs, check out Airfoil right now.

The Home app on iOS 11 will also offer some sort of multi-speaker support, but it’s not yet clear how this will work, nor how it relates to or differs from existing multi-device support on the Mac. It may require new AirPlay 2 hardware, such as the new HomePod. At present, we can’t say much useful about this, as it’s not yet part of Apple’s betas.

AirPlay 2 will support an “offline” mode for playing pre-rendered audio (like downloaded music files and podcasts). This improves playback, reducing skips due to network traffic and allowing for more responsive controls (play/pause, seeking, etcetera). However, because Airfoil’s audio capture works in real-time, this isn’t something Airfoil will be able to take advantage of.

There’s more to AirPlay 2 and we’re still researching and exploring, so we’ll likely have more to share in the future.

Information on Apple’s New HomePod

The HomePod won’t be available until December, and Apple hasn’t shared much in the way of concrete details. While we can’t promise anything yet, we’re hoping the HomePod will appear as a standard AirPlay output. If that’s the case, you’ll hopefully be able to send any audio to it from your Mac or PC, using Airfoil. We’ll no doubt have more news when the HomePod is actually available.

More Updates to Come

As mentioned above, we’ll have updates for all of our apps in the coming months to provide full support for High Sierra. Beyond that, we’ll undoubtedly have more news and information to share about all of Apple’s updates and new products over time. As always, stay tuned here and on Twitter.

Beta Test A New Rogue Amoeba App

Later this year, we plan to release a tool aimed at podcasters, as well as folks who put on live performances of all sorts. It’s called Farrago.

Before we ship Farrago to the public at large, we’re hoping some of you folks will help beta test it. Do you create a podcast, or do other live audio production? If so, we want you!

Testing in Progress

We’ll be distributing a private beta (as well as more info, of course) to a small group of testers. If you’re interested in being part of that group, send us an email with the following info:

  • Your full name

  • Your birth month

  • A list of any audio devices you have connected to (or nearby) your Mac

Update (July 6th, 2017): We’re all full up on testers for now, but keep an eye out for more news on Farrago.

You’ll need to be running Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or higher, and be sure to include all of the above information if you want to be a tester! We’ll be in touch with those folks who are selected within a few days, so watch your inbox. If you don’t hear from us, be sure to keep an eye on this blog for more details.

Welcoming Two New Members to Our Team

If you regularly check the Staff section of our company page, well, that’s frankly a little strange. Still, if you have had a look at it recently, you might have noticed two new additions to our team. Now it’s time to properly introduce them via our blog!

First up, we hired Chris Richards to join our technical support team. This doubled the number of Chrises helping our customers, as Chris Richards joined our long-time technical support guru Chris Barajas in providing assistance to folks in need. This marks the first time we’ve ever had multiple people answering support emails, and it’s part of a continued effort to offer stellar service to all who use our products.

APPNAME IconOur second recent hire is Andy Taylor, who’s taken over development of Airfoil for Windows. Andy’s got tremendous experience on dozens of different game titles, as well as other Windows software. Now, he’s using his talents to push Airfoil for Windows forward. We’ve been delayed in getting out some desired updates, but Andy’s gotten up to speed since he joined on, and he’s now making good progress. We hope to have more news for our Windows users soon.

Though it’s been well over a decade since we hired our first employee, it’s still exciting to add new members to our team. We’re delighted to have Chris and Andy working alongside us, and we hope they’ll be helping you (directly and indirectly) for years to come.

Airfoil for Mac 5.6 Restores Full Apple TV Compatibility

Airfoil for Mac IconWe’ve got a great update for Airfoil for Mac today which enables it to once again send audio directly to all versions of the Apple TV. Airfoil for Mac 5.6 is a free update, available immediately by selecting “Check for Update” from the Airfoil menu. We strongly encourage all users to move up to Airfoil 5.6 immediately.

Airfoil for Windows Updates Coming Very Soon

Airfoil for Windows IconWe didn’t want to delay the release of our Mac version, but now that Airfoil for Mac is sending directly to the newest Apple TVs, we’re working quickly to bring the same fix to Airfoil for Windows. We should have an update there very soon, so stay tuned for more information.

Notes on Airfoil Satellite TV

Airfoil Satellite TV IconThe Airfoil Satellite TV app we released last month provided a useful workaround for users wishing to stream audio to the new Apple TVs. Prior to the recent tvOS 10.2 update, however, no receiver app was needed. Airfoil could instead stream directly to the Apple TV, with no additional software required. When the tvOS update broke this functonality, running Airfoil Satellite TV again enabled Airfoil to send to the Apple TV.

Now that we’ve worked around Apple’s changes with Airfoil 5.6, you can once again stream audio to the Apple TV without needing any additional software. As such, Airfoil Satellite TV shouldn’t be necessary for most uses. In the future, we may add addition functionality so the app better matches the iOS version of Airfoil Satellite. If nothing else, however, Airfoil Satellite TV will continue to exist as a fall-back, so that even if Apple changes or breaks AirPlay compatibility, Airfoil will still be able to send audio from a Mac or PC to the Apple TV.

Learn the A-B-C’s of Home Audio Streaming

Over on their Next Track podcast, I chatted with Kirk McElhearn and Doug Adams about the A-B-C’s of home audio streaming. That’s AirPlay, Bluetooth, and (Google) Cast. If you’re interested to get audio streaming throughout your house, give Episode #50 – Streaming Music in your Home a listen. Of course, our home audio streaming app Airfoil app ties in to the discussion.

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