Mike Becky

Tag Archive for ‘AirPort Express’

AirPort Express Software Update Adds AirPlay 2 and Home App Support ➝

Zac Hall, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

Apple’s AirPort line may be discontinued, but AirPort Express got one heck of an update today. Firmware update 7.8 for the latest AirPort Express hardware (2012 2nd-gen model, no longer sold) adds support for AirPlay 2 and Apple’s Home app. The teaser for support has been present since iOS 11.4 beta, but support hasn’t been live before today’s version 7.8 firmware update.

I just updated my AirPort Express a few minutes ago and, as I said on Twitter: “Holy cow, they actually did it”. Although, I had to do a bit of fiddling to get it to show up in the Home app. After the firmware upgrade, the Home app wouldn’t see my AirPort Express until after I sent audio to it. Not entirely sure why, but its working now — I’m not going to complain too much.

Aside from iOS devices and Macs, I believe this is the first time Apple has released a software update for a discontinued product that introduced new features. Maybe they’ve done so for security reasons, but this is uncharted territory for them. And its pretty darn rad.

Just Buy an Apple Router

A few days ago I helped my sister pick out a wireless router for her home. She didn’t want to spend $100+ on an Apple router so I had to help her find a cheaper one that would still fulfill her needs. It was miserable — Netgear, Linksys, Belkin, etc. — they’re all terrible.

We ended up settling on the Netgear WGR614 (beautiful name, huh?) mostly because it was inexpensive and gave her what she needed. But, I urge everyone to think about whether the price is worth the miserable experience setting up and managing a router like this one. I couldn’t convince my sister to spend more on a router but hopefully I’ll convince someone out there to suck it up and buy an Apple router that will likely last them twice as long as the others and offer a much better user experience.

Ben Brooks recently wrote about his reasons to buy an Apple router over others and I couldn’t agree more with him more on every point. Apple routers are easier to setup, more reliable, and last far longer than any other router brand that I’ve ever used.

I especially love this bit by Ben:

I have only had three Apple routers, but really I only bought more because I wanted new features — not because I was tired of trying to mess with my current router. Pre-Apple routers I would buy new routers because I was convinced I had a dud.

I have owned four non-Apple routers — a Belkin, a Linksys, and two Netgear routers. None of them could even hold a candle to the two Apple routers that I’ve owned. I used an AirPort Express as my primary router for about 2-3 years that was replaced by a Time Capsule when they released the MIMO versions in 2009. Like Ben, I upgraded my router, not because of frustrations I was having with it, but because I wanted a new feature that was available in the newer model. In this case it was Time Machine backups over Wi-Fi and printer sharing. And, the next time I upgrade my router it will be for similar reasons, not because I’ve grown to dislike my current one.

I actually love my router. This is something that no one I know with a non-Apple router can say. They have far too many days where their “wireless internet is running slow” or they “just can’t connect to the internet,” to ever say that they love their router. To them I say, just buy an Apple router, you’ll be much happier in the long run.

Apple AirPlay Private Key Revealed ➝

Developer James Laird has reverse engineered the AirPort Express private key and released an AirPort Express emulator called Shareport. Previously third party software could send audio to an AirPlay device. But using this private key, users could now stream audio from iTunes or an AirPlay-compatible device to a piece of third-party software.