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Airport Express gets Airplay 2 update

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by uofmtiger, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

    Messages:
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    "Firmware update 7.8 adds AirPlay 2 support to 802.11n AirPort Express base stations."

    https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1975?locale=en_US

    I almost gave mine away, but luckily, it is still in my sun room. I plan to test it when I get home, but this will be very nice for my needs if it means it can be controlled by the HomePod.

    Edit: I tested this and I could not get it to play just by telling HomePod to send audio to it. It doesn’t show up in Homekit. However, it does show up as an AirPlay 2 speaker in iOS, so it can be part of multiroom audio using iOS.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2018
    awillia6 likes this.

     

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  2. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

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    Thanks for posting this up.

    Hmm...my gizmos don't see the update as available. Wonder if Apple pulled it or the server load is too much to make it available to all comers (especially late ones like me!).
     
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  3. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    I didn’t see it until I launched Airport Utility on my Mac. Even then, I had to relaunch it once. It didn’t show on the iOS Airport Utility app. Maybe they rolled it out on Macs first?
     
  4. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

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    Hmm...tried multiple times with different settings on macOS as well as IOS devices. Even rebooted the three 7.7.9 Time Capsules a couple times. No soap. I'll give it a try using AirPort Utility running on Windows XP on my old Dell PC...
     
  5. cpt_paranoia

    cpt_paranoia Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    797
    That announcement is dated December 2017. Have your devices already been updated?
     
  6. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    I don't think it was actually released until yesterday (8/28/18) even though the date on the site says December. Airplay 2 wasn't even available then.

    Maybe they are rolling it out slowly? I am not real sure. It is a nice thing to have, though.
     

     

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  7. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    I also read on MacRumors (via user Macwick) that it can be added to HomeKit, so I will have to try that soon:

    "Here's the trick - when you click 'Add Accessory', you then have to click 'Don't have a code or can't scan?'. It will then show you a list of new devices on your network, including the updated AirPort Express."
     
  8. Milesc2

    Milesc2 New Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Can anyone come up with an actual list of supported airport express models for this update?
    "Firmware update 7.8 adds AirPlay 2 support to 802.11n AirPort Express base stations."

    On Wikipedia both the the A1264 (Wall Wart model) and the newer A1392 (The Apple TV looking one) are listed as being the "AirPort Express 802.11n".

    So in short I can't tell the what devices are supported?
     
  9. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

    Messages:
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    Lemme plug in an A1264 (I don't have any A1392s), and see what firmware version is installed. I know my Time Capsules (the current tall, though alas discontinued, models) are running 7.7.9, so about as close to 7.8 as one could get. My earlier Time Capsule (the flat one) was running 7.6.9 if I recall correctly (it's boxed up for sale so not readily available, but I can check with my brother who has one of the same vintage).
     
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  10. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    I have one of the units that is flat and has the cord to plug it in and it works with Airplay 2 now.

    Not sure how to find the model #?

    I have some of the versions with the plug attached to the body, but I don't know if they are "N" versions. The one I tested did not get this update, but it might not be a "wifi N" version.
     
  11. Ballylongford

    Ballylongford Bailey ; He's a great guy Subscriber

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  12. Milesc2

    Milesc2 New Member

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    The flat unit with the cord is an A1392.
    You need to read the fine print on the bottom of the "plug into wall" unit and it will either say A1264, A1088, or A1084. (A1264 is the newest).

    That said, my real question; does the model A1264 support the new 7.8 firmware?

    If nobody replies I will test this when I get home tonight and report back.
     
  13. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,235
    No telling in my case. My A1264 reports that it's running the latest firmware available at 7.6.9. Neither AirPort Utility on Mac or iPhone shows any update available for it. I'll give it a poke with AirPort Utility on my PC and report back here in an update...
     
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  14. Milesc2

    Milesc2 New Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    I am feeling pretty confident that even though Apple states "Firmware update 7.8 adds AirPlay 2 support to 802.11n AirPort Express base stations" this update will only apply to the 2012 A1392 model.
    Thinking I got excited for nothing, what good does this do me if only 2 of my 8 devices receive this update?
    I am a huge Apple fan but am starting to really hate how segmented and fragmented Apple is becoming with Tim Cook at the helm.
    They can't even provide a list of supported models in this case!
    Also, I guarantee you no Apple retail store employee would be able to answer this basic question. They look at me like a deer in the headlights if I ask anything remotely technical.

    Sorry for my rant!
     
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  15. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

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    1,235
    UPDATE: Nope, PC's AirPort Utility running under Windows XP reports no update available for ANY of my Time Capsules or A1264 AirPort Expresses. Looks like you may well be right; only A1392 AirPort Expresses need apply for the 7.8 update. Makes sense in a way. The Time Capsules (and AirPort Extremes) are basically WiFi routers/switches without audio/video capability, so they're excluded from the AirPlay update. AppleTVs, including the latest tvOS crop (the fat boys), can only connect to an existing WiFi network, not provide one of their own and are, therefore, not configurable at all via AirPort Utility so no update for them either. The only guy who looks to be (maybe) included for the AirPlay update is the last of the Mohicans: the A1392 AirPort Express.

    BTW: firing up AirPort Utility on my PC is a stark reminder of just how much functionality has been lost over the years in the macOS/OSX/IOS versions of the utility. The old PC version has TONS of data and settings, including access to a complete device log showing every connection and configuration even in the history of the particular AirPort device selected. Amazing just how much things have been dumbed down over time, hopefully not US as well!
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
  16. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    Personally, I think it is just the opposite. They aren't fragmented enough if you want better products across the board. Many companies employ more divisions that work as separate entities (more fragmented) and Apple is more likely to have everyone working with one goal. Their goal is typically how to make iOS and iPhone's better. Of course, you can't blame them because iPhones and iOS support a lot of the rest of their services and accessories. There is a lot more detail about their organizational structure at the link below, but it is "functional" rather than "divisional":

    https://www.vox.com/new-money/2016/11/27/13706776/apple-functional-divisional

    If it was divisional, they would have more management ownership of performances of their divisions, but it also might mean some of the best aspects of Apple's ecosystem would have taken a hit because a VP of Mac might not be as interested in continuity features. If you are investor, you might prefer what they are doing now since it is cultivates the best selling and most profitable segment of their business.

    I saw on Mac Rumors that is was 2012 and later devices. I wasn't sure where they pulled that info, so I didn't include it in my initial post.

    Personally, I only have one 2012 Airport Express and 2 that are older. I am glad to get one of them updated since my expectation was that they were leaving the Airport Express in the dust.
     

     

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  17. hjames

    hjames dancing madly backwards ... Staff Member Moderator Subscriber

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    I got home today and the Airport Utility had apparently auto-opened on my MacPro (High Sierra),
    and showed Firmware updates were available for 2 of my 3 Airport Express wall wart units.
    Updates firmware 7.6.8 to 7.8 (AEx-Boombox, for the Back porch unit, & AEx-MediaRm for the home theater room)
    I did the updates 1 at a time - all went well.
    Click the 3rd unit (AEx-LivRm - with the Heathkits & Tubes) and it offered an update so I ran it too!.
    My main unit is an Airport Extreme (mini-tower) unit - no change (firmware 7.7.9)

    Edit a day later:
    they are NOT the "wall-wart unit" - I currently have the smaller white Apple-TV style Airport units - must have replaced them to get the N mode wifi feature ...
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
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  18. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

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    Wow! That's completely different than my experience poking at them with AirPort Utility on macOS, IOS, and Windows XP, trying to manually kick off the update sequence. Based on your deal, I'm going to plug my three A1264s into wall sockets for a few hours (or days) and just see what happens.

    Oh, quick question: are your AEx- units hardwired to your network or using WiFi to communicate?

    UPDATE: So I set my three AEx A1264s back to 7.6.8 firmware and to WiFi OFF (hardwired network connection ONLY). They're all plugged in, directly cabled to my main Ethernet switch, and all showing GREEN status lights. AirPort Utility shows each AEx A1264 fully online with a RED 1 and then recommends a firmware update from 7.6.8 to 7.6.9 for each of them. Looks like it's now a waiting game to see if and when the 7.8 update makes the scene like it did for hjames. Tick, tock...
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
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  19. hjames

    hjames dancing madly backwards ... Staff Member Moderator Subscriber

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    The Extreme tower is on ethernet to my macPro,
    the Express units are all tied via WiFi
     
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  20. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

    Messages:
    4,838
    Location:
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    Just an update. I was able to set up my Airport Express on HomeKit using instructions I posted above. It can now be controlled with the HomePod. This is pretty awesome since it is in the sunroom off the kitchen, so I can have music playing on the backyard before I open the door.
     
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