Although both AirPlay and Bluetooth allow wireless audio transmission, there are several important differences:
- Regardless of the name, AirPlay and AirPlay 2 can work on any IP network connection, whether wired or wireless (Wi Fi).The only rule is that all AirPlay devices must be on the same network.Unfortunately, this also means that when you leave home or office, AirPlay will not work unless you have a portable travel router that can be used to create a temporary Wi Fi network.
- Bluetooth can directly connect devices wirelessly without the need for a universal IP based network.
- AirPlay is exclusive to Apple. Currently, the company only allows AirPlay streaming on Apple devices. Bluetooth is an open standard. Any company can choose to integrate Bluetooth streaming into their devices.
- AirPlay can send videos and audio, while Bluetooth is only suitable for audio.
- However, due to the use of Wi Fi and Ethernet, AirPlay has more bandwidth to use and can support higher quality audio streams than Bluetooth.
- Bluetooth has a shorter wireless range than Wi Fi and is more difficult to penetrate walls and other obstacles.
- If the Bluetooth speaker comes with a microphone, you can use it as a hands-free phone, and some can also allow you to create stereo pairs through Bluetooth. AirPlay does not have the same microphone oriented functionality.
- Bluetooth is a more universal standard for pairing keyboards, mice, and more. AirPlay focuses on streaming media.