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Small Wireless AirPlay Speakers For iPad : iPhone : Mac

The ability to stream audio over Wi-Fi has evolved steadily since Apple first introduced the AirPort Express router and 'AirTunes' speaker playback options in iTunes. Rebranded as 'AirPlay' it now moves beyond only a Mac running iTunes to also include the AppleTV and streaming music control from an Apple iPad, iPhone or iPod touch as well. On the Windows and Android side there's a similar DLNA standard.

iHome Compact Airplay WiFi Speaker

Black - Red - Silver Color Options

Apple AirPlay compatibility is being incorporated directly into select Wi-Fi wireless speaker systems. The benefit of streaming Apple audio over 802.xx wireless is the increased bandwidth, greater coverage distance and higher fidelity available. As many Mac users have discovered, streaming stereo Bluetooth audio has a maximum coverage range of 30 feet - and in real world experience it's usually far, far less. And it should also be noted that A2DP stereo Bluetooth audio is highly compressed. As such Bluetooth offers less than true audiophile quality for discerning ears. So Apple's AirPlay more than makes up for some of Bluetooth's limitations.

JBL Sound-Fly Small WiFi Speaker

AC-Socket Around-The-House Placement

Because AirPlay is implicitly a WiFi technology - it's use is basically limited to home and office environments. Also note that 802.xx wireless is a power hog compared to Bluetooth. As such many AirPlay speakers are AC powered and rather bulky. Many have large enclosures with sizeable woofers so they're delivering true hi-fi audio with serious bass thump! That said, there are more compact and smaller portable AirPlay loudspeakers that can be taken from room to room and run on battery power. Many support both wireless AirPlay AND Bluetooth for more versatility.