Archive for August 29, 2018

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

AirPort Express Update Adds AirPlay 2

Zac Hall (tweet):

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.

What a nice surprise. Now how about making the Apple TV 3 remote work from Control Center?

Benjamin Mayo:

This is honestly the most discombobulated thing Apple has done in a long time; release a major new feature for a discontinued product.

Marco Arment:

Alright, who had “significant AirPort Express software update” on their bingo card?

Jason Snell (tweet):

My ancient AirPort Express, pulled out of a drawer, is now playing music on an external speaker synced with my HomePod stereo pair and my Mac’s external speaker, which is an iPod Hi-Fi. (Oh goodness, if I attached the iPod Hi-Fi to the AirPort Express, it would be an AirPlay 2 speaker. Would the universe implode?)


Thanks Craig 😀

Zac Hall:

The AirPort Express that got AirPlay 2 today came out the same day as the “NEW” Mac Pro from the original @atpfm artwork

Previously: Apple Officially Discontinues AirPort Router Line, iOS 11.4 and Messages in iCloud.

Update (2018-08-29): Nick Heer:

According to John Voorhees over at MacStories, this only works for the second-generation AirPort Express that looks like a white Apple TV, and it needs to be added manually to the Home app — that is, you can’t just scan it to add it.

Update (2018-08-30): Benjamin Mayo:

I am not saying that this is bad for owners of the second-generation AirPort Express. It’s great that there is now a way to bring dumb speakers into the AirPlay 2 ecosystem, connecting via the Express’s aux input. Specifically, the absurd part of this is that they rolled this out to a product that they discontinued months ago, the Express has been delisted from the Apple Store, and there isn’t a replacement product for people to buy that can achieve the same result.


What I hope Apple introduces is a rebranded/redesigned AirPort Express for $49, that ditches all of the wireless networking stuff and just acts as an AirPlay 2 audio repeater.

See also: Accidental Tech Podcast.

Update (2018-09-05): Juli Clover:

Just ahead of when Apple plans to release new 2018 iPhones, the company has quietly updated its AirPort Utility app to introduce support for the longer display of the iPhone X.

AirPort Utility is one of the last remaining Apple apps that have gone for months without an iPhone X update.

Possible Removal of 3D Touch With 2018 iPhones

Joe Rossignol:

Earlier this year, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said 3D Touch won’t be a feature on the rumored 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD, part of the upcoming 2018 lineup. So, by the sound of it, 3D Touch won’t be a feature on any 2019 iPhones, assuming Apple sticks with the same three models expected in 2018.

While the lack of 3D Touch on the 6.1-inch iPhone would make sense, given expectations that it will essentially be a budget iPhone X, it’s not entirely clear why it may be removed from the more expensive OLED models next year. As a somewhat hidden feature, perhaps Apple no longer finds it essential.


The most immediate example is the home screen. Long press activates move/delete mode, 3D Touch brings up common app features and/or a widget. It might not be my primary interaction, but I do like having it there. I don’t think I’m the only one

Ryan Jones:

0.1% of people use Quick Actions

~25% (??) of people have difficulties deleting and moving app

Design is trade offs. Not yes/no. You win by removing, and in this case you win more.

Jesse Larson:

The amount of time I’ve spent explaining how to delete apps after 3D Touch is crazy. Can’t believe they didn’t remedy this obvious regression sooner.

Personally, I only use 3D Touch for better cursor insertion when editing text. I’d miss it if gone, but could live without it.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

“I always invoke 3D Touch by accident”

“3D Touch is not discoverable”

If you changed how icons are moved or deleted on SpringBoard, nobody would be complaining about 3D Touch at all. 3D Touch isn’t the problem here


The cursor feature is a big big win 3D touch wise for me. Or 3D touching google maps to get directions home is nice. But yea, not much else

Ryan Jones:

3D Touch never took off. That’s not saying long or force pressing is dead. Do we need dedicated hardware for long or force taps? No. Do we need Force Touch to be distinct from Long Tap? No. Unadopted unnecessary complication for tiny upside → kill it.

Marco Arment:

Removing 3D Touch sounds incorrect. Maybe it’s just a component/implementation change.

But it’s kinda fun to watch people who’ve defended the removals of everything they didn’t use from the MacBook Pro suddenly getting mad that Apple might take away one of THEIR niche features.

Colin Cornaby:

3D Touch is difficult/expensive to implement, especially on larger screens (hello iPad.) It doesn’t sound completely incorrect to me, because the price for implementation doesn’t seem worth the payoff. But Apple would have to walk back their reliance on it for first party apps.

Michael Love:

I think they finally found a winning / obvious use for it in the iPhone X’s flashlight / camera buttons; hopefully they keep it around and lean into it more heavily in iOS 13 for complications and such.

Justin Lin:

That I find very frustrating. I just want a quick flash light or camera with a tap but it takes so much effort to make it “click”. And my mom thought they were broken as they did nothing with a tap.

Damien Petrilli:

Too bad. 3D touch could have been used to add a contextual menu to undo amongst other things

Josh Centers:

3D Touch isn’t that useful, but I love the Taptic feedback.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

I don’t believe rumors of ‘no 3D Touch’ coming from component suppliers. Seems far more likely that they’ve figured out new way to do 3D Touch that doesn’t require heavy back plate, thus making viable on iPad. The answer to user problems is ‘disable by default’, like right-click

3D Touch didn’t appear out of nowhere, it was worked on for many years before it was introduced and forms a key part of contextual & haptic design on iOS. It sounds ridiculous to remove it just because some people have difficulty moving icons around

On the other hand, there may be indicators that 3D Touch hasn’t worked out as expected: it’s still not on iPad, for instance, nor the iPhone SE (which is still in the lineup). I don’t know if anybody would miss it if it were dropped on macOS, either

If you were to nix 3D Touch, you’d have to relocate (or remove, a la iPad) SpringBoard shortcuts & widgets, and view controller previewing & context menus. You’d only be left with a longpress you’d have to overload with features, which doesn’t make moving icons any easier

Joe Fabisevich:

3D Touch is great, but incredibly confusing, hidden, and often times overloaded. It should have replaced long press, not been added on top of other gestures.

Andy Durdin:

In my experience and estimation, I invoke 3D touch when I didn’t want to about 1-2% of the time when I only wanted a long press; and 3D touch fails to register when I wanted it to about 5-10% of attempts. Both of these percentages are frustratingly high.

James O’Leary:

while I’m here, the other issue is 3D Touch is impossible to use consistently as a designer. You have to plan 3 separate UIs (iPhone without 3D touch, iPad, iPhone with 3D touch). By its very nature, 3D Touch affordances have to be dispensable

Matt Bonney:

Here’s a very simple reason why removing 3D Touch would be bad. Long-press is a bad, slow substitute.

3D Touch lets you get in to these expanded states with a single (slightly firmer) tap.