Thursday, 12 July 2018 12:20

AirPlay 2 arrives at last on Sonos, here's 5 things now possible

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AirPlay 2 on Sonos means you can do a stack of Apple-related stuff on your Sonos speakers, adding to its flexibility and giving Sonos additional ammo against Apple's own HomePod.

Starting today, Sonos customers can start using AirPlay 2 with a free software update, which helps sure up Sonos in a world of ever greater competition from Apple, Google, Amazon and a host of other companies developing smart speakers.

Sonos has been a major pioneer in multi-room audio, but doesn't have its own intelligent assistant, and thus relies on those of competitors, such as Apple and Amazon.

That said, Sonos does have an installed base of tens of millions of customers worldwide, and irrespective of whether Sonos and its competitors play nicely with each other in the future or not, Sonos will keep on pumping sound for many years yet.

And, while there are whispers out there that perhaps someone like Spotify might want to merge with Sonos one day to the benefit of both companies, is is just sonic speculation and is irrelevant to the fact AirPlay 2 has now arrived and brings a great range of genuine enhancements.

So, until any such future merger does or doesn't take place, the fact is that Sonos has achieved official AirPlay 2 compatibility, with Sonos stating at its official blog post that AirPlay 2's arriving on Sonos "opens your home sound system up to a whole new world of listening possibilities — and way more".

Here's what the official blog post has to say:

"If your favourite streaming service feels like a giant virtual record shop (or movie store), think of Sonos as the gargantuan mall that houses it all: Your door-by-door selection of nearly any piece of sonic culture you could ever want.

"With over 80 content services plugged into the Sonos platform, countless songs, podcasts, TV shows, movies, radio broadcasts—you name it—are all a few taps away, ready to be piped throughout your home with clear, room-filling sound.

"But we know that this reservoir of content we call the sonic internet is constantly exploding—And so is your appetite for it. There’s more great stuff to stream than ever and we want to make it dead simple to enjoy it all on Sonos. That’s why we’re excited to announce the latest addition to the Sonos platform: AirPlay 2.

"With AirPlay 2, you can effortlessly stream just about any sound from your iPhone or iPad to one of our AirPlay-compatible speakers. (That’s Sonos One, Beam, Playbase, and the second generation Play:5, by the way.)

Listen to more of your favourite apps out loud on Sonos.

"Using AirPlay 2, you can instantly send sound from any AirPlay-compatible iOS app to Sonos. That means you’ll have yet another easy way to use Sonos to listen to services like Apple Music, Spotify, Audible, Pandora, and dozens of others. AirPlay also lets you unlock sound from a whole selection of content apps and services. If it has an AirPlay icon, you can stream it on Sonos."

So, how do you control Sonos with Siri from your iPhone or iPad?

"Setting up AirPlay 2 on Sonos unlocks another exciting new feature: You can now use Siri to control Apple Music on Sonos. Using your iPhone or iPad, you can tell Siri what to play and where to play it.

"Try “Hey Siri, play Beats 1 Radio in the bedroom.” Or “Hey Siri, turn it up in the living room.”

"It’s easy to set up: Just open up the Home app, select the plus symbol, then hit Add Accessory. Tap ‘Don’t Have a Code’ or ‘Can’t Scan’ and then select your Sonos speaker. Once it’s added, make sure to give it the same name as it has in the Sonos app. Tap ‘Done.’

How do you watch on your iPhone or iPad and listen on Sonos?

"AirPlay lets you watch videos on apps like YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, and many others and pipe the sound throughout your home on Sonos.

"Curl up in bed with your iPad and an episode of Westworld on HBO Now with sound on your Sonos One (or better yet, a stereo pair of them). Show your friend that hilarious YouTube video on your iPhone and make sure he catches the punchline when you send the sound to your new Sonos Beam."

How do you switch between voice assistants – or any other way to control Sonos?

"By enabling Siri to control Apple Music on Sonos, you unlock yet another option for controlling your home sound system. But you don’t have to stick with one method or the other; you can control Sonos on your terms.

"After you’ve started the music with Siri, you can let Alexa adjust the volume or skip to the next song via your Sonos One, Beam, or any Alexa-enabled Sonos device (set up through the Sonos skill on your Echo device).

"Of course, you can always jump back to the Sonos app or any other content service that works with Sonos through our direct control integration or via AirPlay. Start the music one way, then control it however you prefer."

How do you enjoy AirPlay 2 on your entire Sonos system?

"Even though AirPlay 2 is only supported on Sonos One, Beam, Playbase, and Play:5, with any one of these speakers you can listen via AirPlay on your entire home sound system.

"That means that even non-AirPlay compatible speakers like Playbar or Play:1 can reap the sonic benefits of our AirPlay 2 integration, provided they’re grouped with one of our newer, AirPlay-friendly devices in the Sonos app."

Sonos also reminds us that its new Sonos Beam arrives from 17 July.  

So there you have it, AirPlay 2 is now available on Sonos, and the great sonic boom of the smart speaker sound wars continue!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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