Airplay 2: Will I still need two devices?
I can't decide whether I am excited about the new Airplay 2 that Apple released in iOS 11.4. That will depend on the answer to one very crucial question.
One of the biggest issues I had with the original Airplay is that once you started a stream on your iPhone and decided you wanted to Airplay it on another device, such as an AppleTV, you still had to have the content streaming on the iPhone. That makes sense if what you are streaming is located directly on your phone that the phone would still need to be used to play the content. However, if you open an app, let's say OoTunes just as an example, on your phone, find the station you want to hear, and decide you'd rather Airplay it to those fancy speakers connected to your AppleTV, once Airplay was started, you have to leave your phone connected to the content source. With Sonos, while you use your phone to point the speakers to the source of the music you are playing, once it is up and running through your Sonos speakers, you can close the app and forget it until you either want to turn the music off through the app or directly on the speakers. Will Airplay 2 let you do that? I see no reason once you start using Airplay on your AppleTV you can't turn off the source on your phone. After all, technology should be smart enough that the AppleTV should then be pointed at the streaming material source.
I hope that make ssense. If Apple products can do this now instead of making you use two devices to simply play a source of music, then Airplay 2 has great potential. If not, then they are not as forward-thinking as I had hoped and as should be expected.
Long, drawling, boring post over.
I don't know for certain as I don't have the capable hardware to test this. However, I would assume not. All AirPlay2 does is let you stream to multiple receivers at once. I never read anything about the receivers being able to stream web content directly. As far as I know, Chromecast and Sonos devices are the only ones that can do this. AirPlay requires the transmitter to be on at all times.
You'd think a technology giant like Apple could make it happen. Oh well, I guess one should never have high expectations.
I'd just like to point out, that this is not apple's fault. stop blaming them for something they have no control over. let's take example one. if you airplayed to a sonos device, that sonos device has the ability already to handle streaming stuff itself, so potentially, i could see that being able to do what you are talking about. how ever, what if you have a speaker system, that has airplay, but does not in fact have the powerful CPU that is needed to perform things like internet searching and streaming and so on. how is it sposed to be able to take the airplay data and extract a url from it and stream it. so i think you're looking at this all wrong. airplay 2 is just an extension of airplay really. it's there to transmit data, IE music / video audio from your device you're working on, to a speaker. if you want the more complex abilities of something along the lines of sonos, you're going to have to pay for such a device. IE, apple's home pod. i personally don't like the sound of it, but if you wanted to stay in the apple ecosystem, that's the option. personally i'd stick with sonos, as it lets you handle way more services. and as you said, the app is on your phone, you set it to stream something, and then can even turn off your device should you want, the sonos is now acting on it's own. 2 different ways of doing things, they both are useful, both have their places. but they are not the same things.
and don't forget, airplay goes way further than just your audio. it goes into video as well. so i could sit here with my ipad, running netflix, and with airplay 2, i'll be able to stream that audio to my sonos when sonos get's on with adding support. now i very much doubt that any speaker will have the ability to pull an url out of that stream and stream the audio separately from the video, and maintain sync, and so on. let alone even be able to handle processing the video stream. so really, what you want, is both. a sonos, to do the bit you want, but also the sonos to support airplay 2, which they should do soon, if they hurry up with it. that way, you have the best of both worlds.