It looks like Apple is working on a way to allow any AirPlay 2 speaker to work as your standard Apple TV 4K sound solution – at least, that’s suggested by code found in the first beta of iOS 16.1, released to developers on last week .
At the moment, Apple’s two HomePods (the original and the latest HomePod Mini) can be set as standard speakers for Apple TV 4K, which means that all that you tap on your Apple TV automatically goes through them (although only the discontinued original HomePod can provide Dolby Atmos audio).
Wouldn’t it be amazing if your KEF LSX II, Sonos One or indeed any of the best AirPlay speakers could work the same way – that is. Wireless Apple TV Sound Not Disconnecting When Apple TV 4K (2021) Goes to Standby? Well, according to iOS 16.1 beta code discovered by 9to5Mac (opens in new tab), your wish may be granted soon.
These days, using an original HomePod as your standard Apple TV 4K speaker works great – it can even siphon and deliver Dolby Atmos sound from your PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, or other HDMI-connected device, thanks to that HDMI eARC support. model .
Analysis: Apple wouldn’t do this if it didn’t have big plans
How is this all set to happen? Well, according to 9to5Mac’s report, it’s all about the Home app: in iOS 16.1 beta, you can pair AirPlay 2 speakers in a permanent speaker group. Said group of speakers can be set as the default audio output for an Apple TV 4K.
Apple actually released this currently HomePod-specific feature in early 2021, weeks before it discontinued the HomePod (aka the only device capable of delivering it in Dolby Atmos), so it makes sense that Apple is broadening its horizons now – and the news also adds weight to the imminent launch of the much-rumored HomePod 2 to take on the mantle.
While Apple hasn’t confirmed any of this, the Cupertino giant has specified that it will release its new Home architecture with Matter support later this year. So it makes sense that these improved AirPlay 2 speaker features could be a part of the launch.
Oh, and in addition to a new HomePod, Apple is also rumored to be working on a new Apple TV 4K (2022), an updated Apple TV streaming set-top box with a more powerful A14 chip and more memory.
For Apple and Siriens devices, the wider iOS 16.1 release can’t be here anytime soon.