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Apple announces AirPlay 2, brings speaker support to HomeKit

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Multi-room audio is here

Apple’s HomeKit is about to get a much needed major upgrade, thanks to the addition of speakers, the company announced during its WWDC keynote today. The announcement came in the form of a new version of AirPlay, called AirPlay 2, which will allow HomeKit to communicate to speakers. If you happen to own an Apple TV connected to a speaker setup, it can also act as the central hub for you to stream music.

This opens the door for multi-room audio controls from a single device. Apple says it’s signed on a number of manufacturers, including (of course) Apple-owned Beats, but also Bose, Bang & Olufsen, and a number of other speaker makers. It’s unclear if only Apple software will be able to link with HomeKit via AirPlay 2. Yet Apple exec Craig Federighi said onstage that "third-party audio apps will be able to get in on the multi-room audio fun,” opening up the possibility that you’ll be control song streaming via Spotify or Google Play Music as well.

Here’s an partial hardware partner list, as shared by Apple onstage:

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge