updated 07:00 pm EDT, Wed July 6, 2011
Airfoil for Windows also updated to v3
Rogue Amoeba have upgraded their wireless audio-distribution tool Airfoil for Mac to version 4.5, bringing support for direct audio from any iOS device to the Mac, as well as from iTunes on either Mac or Windows straight to selected speakers. In addition, the update offers full support for new AirPlay-compatible receivers from third-party manufacturers, and improvements in the control of remote audio sources. The company has also updated the Windows version of Airfoil to v3, a major update.
Airfoil has been offering Mac users (and more recently Windows users as well) the ability to direct audio from iTunes -- or other sources, a key ability Apple did not offer -- to remote speakers with greater control than was offered through iTunes itself. Audio could be streamed wirelessly to stereos (via Airport Express), other computers, mobile devices and more.
The latest update offers the option to reverse the flow, allowing a computer or speakers connected to an Airport device to receive audio from an iDevice (by leveraging Apple's own AirPlay technology). Likewise, v4.5 can now send audio directly from any copy of iTunes to any AirPlay-compatible speakers, bypassing the necessity of an Airport Express or similar device in some cases.
The emergence of AirPlay-compatible third-party devices, including most significantly speaker sets and receivers that incorporate AirPlay has made this possible, and Airfoil v4.5 includes full support for any AirPlay-compatible devices from manufacturers such as JBL, Denon, iHome and many others.
Building upon Airfoil 4's ability to control remote audio sources, version 4.5 expands on this ability to support remote control of third-party internet-radio and music-streaming apps such as Spotify, Radium and Rdio. Not only does the user have playback control (pause, play, stop, skip et cetera), but metadata such as track information and album artwork can also be transmitted along with the audio.
The Windows version of Airfoil, now at v3, has also incorporated many of the changes in v4.5 for Mac. Airfoil sells for $25, but licensed Airfoil 4 users can upgrade to v4.5 for free. The Mac version requires OS X 10.6 or higher, Windows needs XP or later. A trial version operates for 10 minutes before overlaying interference. An all-new version of Airfoil Speakers Touch for iOS devices is in review at the App Store and will appear shortly.