The ideal home audio system is one that will allow you to hear whatever you’re listening to as you move from room to room. Thanks to technological advancements, you don’t need an expensive multi-speaker setup these days. Google Home already has this capability, and so does Chromecast and various Google Cast speakers.
Apart from Google, Apple has also been offering AirPlay on its own devices such as Apple TV and AirPort Express, as well as third-party speakers. It also offers multi-speaker support when music is streamed from a MacBook. Reportedly, iPhones and iPads will also gain multi-room streaming this fall with the launch of iOS 11 and new AirPlay 2 speakers.
Existing AirPlay speakers can be updated to AirPlay 2 via firmware updates that would be available with the launch of iOS 11. The $349 speaker and Siri listening device is set to launch this December.
After Apple’s announcement of the multi-room streaming feature and launch of AirPlay 2, Amazon is working on a way to send multi-room audio to its Echo devices.
According to a report on the German tech site Cashys Blog, “You’ll be able to put your Alexa speakers into groups, too. That could mean that instead of sending audio to every Echo in your house, you can customize the audio to the backyard, bedroom, or living room only. Finally, we’ve got a use for all those half-price Echo devices we bought.”
Amazon has been making updates and improvements to its Echo devices, featuring the Alexa personal assistant. Most recently, the company launched the Echo Show which has a touchscreen display.
While Amazon’s Echo lineup is capable of playing music, the core feature of the device is Alexa assistance. Apple, on the other hand, has taken the opposite approach with HomePod, presenting it as a quality music speaker as the core service and the secondary or associated service being Siri.
This explains Amazon’s push for multi-speaker, multi-room music support, which is a counter to one of the key selling points of the HomePod. Apart from this, Amazon is also working on a new music-focused Echo with better speakers, which would directly become a substitute for Apple’s HomePod.