AirTunin'

by Jason Deraleau

Related link: http://www.apple.com/airportexpress/




About a week ago, I saw that the Airport Express had started shipping. That day I put in the call to my local Apple store and had them hold one in my name. Shipping times on the Apple site were 3-4 weeks, but I got the call on Tuesday that it had arrived.



The rest of the day was spent anxiously waiting for the work day to end so I could drive over and pick up the little gem. Once again, I was impressed with Apple's packaging. The Airport Express comes in a case that is roughly half the size of an iPod cube. I'm sure this is so they can pack two of them side by side in the exact same space an iPod takes up. Apple's shipping carrier must love them.



I got the treasure home safely, tore off the cellophane, and greedily opened the extreme blue box to find the Airport Express gleaming in Apple snow white. A quick glance at the fairly beefy manual and I realized I'd need to install an Airport Express Assistant from an enclosed CD. Did that, rebooted (*grumble*) and then hooked up the Airport Express while I was waiting.



I'd decided to use the Express to replace my existing access point. I had been using a Linksys WAP11 with great success. I live in a rather small house, so one access point easily does the job. I swapped the units and worked my way through the Airport Express Assistant. After a couple of minutes, I had the unit up and running with my usual settings.



I wanted to make some changes to the device's configuration and was quite pleased to find that the Airport Admin Utility had no issue working with the Express. I was also happy to see that all of the standard settings are there, plus a couple of new ones for AirTunes.



AirTunes is my new Most Favorite Thing in the World. It gets this prestigious title by allowing me to stream music from my PowerBook to my home stereo. No noticeable degradation in audio quality and it's terribly simple to use. When iTunes detects the unit, a little pop-up selector appears, allowing you to choose where you want the output. Your Mac's speakers are the default, while you can choose your Express unit to stream to it.



I've also found that by bringing Salling Clicker into the mix, I can control iTunes on the PowerBook, allowing me to remotely control playback and view track information . Some have lamented the lack of a remote and I think that the Clicker offers a great remote for the Express. Albeit indirectly, it still does the deed.



Overall, I'm quite impressed with the Airport Express. I'd been waiting to get my hands on one since they were first announced. Now that I've been putting one to use, I'll have to be waiting again. I think I'll order up a second one for the kitchen now...



Do you have AirTunes floating through the air in your home?


5 Comments

jimothy
2004-07-23 09:41:59
SailingClicker and range
I've never used SailingClicker (nor do I have an Airport Express, yet). It works with Bluetooth, right? Wouldn't your PDA or cellphone have to be within relatively short range of your Mac to use it as a remote?


The dream would be able to sit in my living room, listening to iTunes streamed from my Mac in my office, many yards away.

jldera
2004-07-23 09:52:58
SailingClicker and range
Yes, it does use Bluetooth, so you are limited by the range of Bluetooth, which is much less than that of Airport. Not a perfect solution, by any means, but one that certainly works in a pinch.
dicckapplebaum
2004-07-24 22:26:08
Airtunes
I preordered an Airtunes and the cable set (you get a power cord with it).


I just ordered 2 more for the other stereos.


Truly an amazing little device. I set up mine as another base station in the living room (Airport extreme with antenna in the family room)


II have several stereos (newer Bose) but the primo is an old 1980's Bang & Olefsen 8000 with big ol' McIntosh speakers.


Those speakers can really pump air -- you feel them as much as you hear them.

It is great to have any computer in the house play to the B&O. The B&O also has a remote so I can control it without getting up.


Great sounds!


Now, All we need is an iPod (or iPod dock) that can wirelessly stream to the airtunes.


Also, it would be nice if the QuickTime player and Browser plugin could also "discover" & play to airtunes.


Dick

khivi4304
2004-08-14 08:22:36
Audio Drops
There is audio drops with aiirport expresss.


There is a large discussion on the Apple Support
Discussion Boards regarding this.


Home > AirPort > AirPort Express > Audio Drop while using airtunes

PPrada
2005-10-08 04:43:48
Airtunes
hi, can you please help me.
I also have an airport and airpot express. And I have a B&O but newer than yours. I do not really know the exact model. However, I cannot find a cable to connect the airtport express to my B&0. Where did you fin it? In a web site to shop on line. Becasue I live in Portugal...
Thank you.
Paulo Prada