If you're a fan of Apple's eccentric ecosystem, we have good news: AirPlay is back in the headlines. Sure, the feature became a side note as people began to worry more about Sonos, Spotify Connect and Google Cast, but Cupertino hardware and software maker is ready to generate some waves.
How is that? Apple is about to launch AirPlay 2, the next generation of its state-of-the-art patented wireless platform.
AirPlay 2 converts the transmission standard into a suitable platform for several rooms, which even Sonos plans to integrate into its speakers Play: 1, Sonos One and Play: 5.
To prepare it for the world of Apple-friendly speakers Wireless that are about to enter a renaissance, here are the best Apple AirPlay speakers on the market.
1. Naim Mu-so Qb
Great sound and elegant look in a small package AirPlay ready
Small form factor
Full and vibrant sound
Configuration can be painful
Naim It makes some of the most elegant wireless speakers available and the Naim Mu-so Qb, a smaller version of the Mu-so sound bar launched in 2014, is no exception.
In simpler terms, it's a speaker cube that adds style to almost any room. And yes, these are our words, not Naim's. The cloth grid on its sides is curved and an acrylic block similar to glass on its bottom makes the Qb appear to be floating. (More or less.)
It also has a striking upward control wheel and illuminated touch buttons that control playback away from your phone.
The sound of Naim Muso Qb is animated, with perfect bass for its size and good sound separation for a wireless speaker. It uses inclined controllers to make the dispersion as wide and stereo as possible. This is not just an AirPlay speaker: Bluetooth, multi-room with the Naim application, a USB port for direct playback and a digital connector that allows you to connect your TV or AV receiver.
Performance, portability and versatility? There is nothing better than this.
Read the full review: Naim Mu-so Qb
2. Orbitsound Dock E30
A small speaker that uses the magic of Airsound to fill larger rooms
Wide dispersion of sound
Many characteristics of lifestyle
It looks good
The Airsound function has problems
The Orbitsound Dock E30 has a lot to it: this is a speaker with many additional features, and while it may not match everyone's home decor, it certainly goes out of its way to avoid looking like a simple plastic speaker .
Some design highlights are the slot where you can rest your tablet or phone and you can also charge your phone wirelessly using a Qi panel at the top. Check online if your phone is compatible with this standard. Do not? There is also a USB port on the front so you can plug in your charging cable.
The Orbitsound Dock E30 has a different approach to sound as well. It uses intelligent side-trigger speakers that separate the environmental parts of a song's mix to increase the width of the sound. This is occasionally confused with some songs, but for the most part the sound is excellent for a speaker of fairly low profile.
Read the full review: Orbitsound Dock E30
3. Riva Arena
A flexible speaker compatible with AirPlay, but makes great compromises
Excellent sound quality
More flexible with Android than iOS
Riva Arena is as close as possible to a Sonos One with AirPlay on board. Up to that point, the quality of the sound is the best feature here.
Like other Riva speakers, the Arena has carefully created media that makes voices sound well textured and warm. It does not throw a sound stage as broad as some, but it can match two Arenas, like intelligent bookshelf speakers.
This is also a speaker that wants you to connect anything. It has Bluetooth, Wi-Fi / AirPlay and Spotify Connect as well. A 3.5mm auxiliary input on the back allows other devices to get involved.
There is no battery in the Arena as standard, but you can buy a battery pack that is inserted in the bottom during 20 hours of use without an adapter. Although it is not cheap. And that's the problem with the Arena: no part shouts courage.
It's more expensive than the Sonos One, which can be less flexible without Apple AirPlay, but makes up for it with voice assistant support.
Read the full review: Riva Arena
4. Apple HomePod
Excellent sound. Excellent AirPlay support. So smart speaker
Amazing sound quality
Attractive and sober design
Apple Music subscription required
Without Bluetooth transmission
Apple's official AirPlay and Siri speaker is HomePod.
As you would expect from Apple, it is one of the most impressively designed wireless speakers. It has only 142 mm in diameter and 170 mm in height, but it is home to seven tweeters and a 4-inch woofer / bass.
This matrix offers not only 360-degree sound but also incredibly deep bass for its size, reaching the kind of frequencies that many wireless speakers do not touch. It is almost certainly the wireless speaker with the best sound of its size.
It looks good, too. A seamless cloth grid covers most of its exterior, and there is a small, neat screen on the top that brightens as you interact with Siri.
On the debit side, the HomePod has no Bluetooth and does not work with Android phones. And although it has the voice control that most other speakers here lack, it only works with Apple Music, not with Spotify. If you do not mind being stuck in Apple's ecosystem for the rest of the time, consider HomePod the best option.
Read the full review: Apple HomePod
5. Libratone Zipp
An excellent sound speaker for the home can also take it out
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support
Clear and balanced sound
Short battery life
Buggy smartphone software  The Libratone Zipp is one of the few good AirPlay powered speakers, in part because Wi-Fi (powered by AirPlay) consumes more battery than Bluetooth. It lasts up to 10 hours between charges, so it's a decent choice if you're looking to take your show with AirPlay on the road.
And the zipper part is not just a nice design gag. Unzip the zipper and you can remove the wool cover and replace it with a different one.
The sound is also excellent for a relatively small speaker with a battery. It has enough bass power to vibrate nearby objects and it goes very loud without tilting the sound towards one end of the audio spectrum or another.
You may not think at first that you need an AirPlay portable speaker, but being able to move the Zipp from the living room to the kitchen is a big advantage. And it prevents you from having to buy a complete configuration of several rooms. Libratone offers control of multiple rooms through the less than stellar application, if you feel up to the challenge.
Read the full review: Libratone Zipp
6. B & O BeoPlay M3
A stylish and simple AirPlay capable speaker for multiple rooms
Support for Spotify Connect, Google Cast, AirPlay and Bluetooth
If you want an AirPlay speaker that fits to a bookshelf or even a bedside table, it is worth considering the B & O BeoPlay M3. It is the entry-level model in B & O's multi-room speaker series and, despite its small stature, it is fully charged.
Take the drivers, for example. It contains a 3.75-inch bass driver and a 0.75-inch tweeter, rather than the ingenious juggling maneuvers others use to extract stereo sound from a small box. As such, the sound is quite directional, so you should place BeoPlay M3 carefully.
In general, however, this speaker sounds good, able to push the audio that fills the room with a good amount of presence and attack. The bass level goes down a bit at higher volumes, but keeps it at low to medium volume levels and you'll be fine.
Like other BeoPlay speakers, the M3 is not a killer and is in the same league as the cheaper Sonos Play: 1. However, it has AirPlay and it looks great. And sounding a little better than the Play: 1 is not an insult.
Read the full review: B & O BeoPlay M3