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.