Sonos is opening its speakers to a new world of listening experiences today with the addition of AirPlay 2.
So what's new in AirPlay 2?The company still doesn't allow for Bluetooth streaming on its devices, and it hadn't supported AirPlay at all before this latest update.
What that means is native streaming, from iOS and macOS devices, to a compatible third-party speaker.
It goes on to say that Amazon could introduce a charge for the voice service that would affect Sonos' profits from the One and Beam products, meaning the ball is very much in Amazon's court... something Sonos very bravely admits publicly; "Amazon could begin charging us for this integration which would harm our operating results".
However, AirPlay 2 also supports grouped speakers. Sonos is expected to be valued between $2.5 billion and $3 billion following the IPO. Each has the networking and processing capacity to run the update.
To get started you must download the free software update that is rolling out today. This leaves incumbent speaker companies such as Sonos in a tough spot.
If you hit any trouble with installing the update to your speakers, just tap Try Again. It just requires a workaround, since they're not powerful enough for standalone, native support. While you can't stream over AirPlay 2 from your iPhone X to, say, a Play:1 or a Playbar directly, you can group those speakers with one of the four natively compatible models.
Airplay 2 is supported on Sonos Beam, Playbase, One, and the second-generation Play:5. Still, it's a lot cheaper than replacing whole zones-worth of speakers completely.
Does this mean Siri on the Sonos One and Sonos Beam?
I have tested a beta version of the AirPlay 2 update on a Sonos One and Sonos Beam for the past week, and, generally speaking, it works as expected.
Switch between voice assistantsOr any other way to control Sonos.
Airplay 2 lets you wirelessly stream music from iPhone/iPad or Mac to multiple compatible speakers at home. You can be less specific, too, and ask for genres or artists as well. It allows you to wirelessly output TV audio from Apple TV.
You're now all set to use Siri commands to play music on your Sonos speakers! But you dont have to stick with one method or the other; you can control Sonos on your terms.
Watch on your iPhone or iPad.
The solution to that network-exiting problem could well be the HomePod. Sonos' speakers don't support Siri directly; they're Alexa-only for the moment. But, you can speak to your phone or iPad and tell it to play the music of your choice. You can skip tracks, adjust volume, and control which speakers are playing. Over the coming months, Airplay 2 will be enabled on speakers from Bang & Olufsen, Libratone, Denon, and others.
Listen to more of your favorite apps out loud on Sonos. Instead, you have to use the Sonos app.
If you want Siri support, meanwhile, there's a final step there. It'll be that room and speaker name by which you refer to them when you're asking Siri to control playback.