Sonos Adds AirPlay 2 Making Good on their Digital Assistant Agnostics
The biggest drive to Sonos - beyond excellent sounding hardware - is their digital assistant agnosticism. For a company that doesn't actually produce a voice assistant, they are damn good at making sure it is the main feature of their products.
When we got our hands on the Sonos One, we saw Alexa leading the way with promises of Google Home to come and a less confident understanding that Siri would follow. However, it appears that Siri will make its way to Sonos before Google thanks to AirPlay 2.
The newest platform from Sonos allows any sound from an iPhone or iPad to be streamed to a Sonos One, Beam, Playbase, and second gen Play:5. And don't worry, legacy devices can pair with compatible devices and play music that way. That being said, Sonos has no intention of making their devices backward compatible as it "will no longer be practical or cost-effective, and we may decrease or discontinue service for our older products,” says Sonos in a recent SEC filing. Not only can any Sonos AirPlay-compatible device play iOS apps - Apple Music, Spotify, Audible, Pandora, etc - AirPlay 2 can now use Siri for voice commands. It will also stream audio from your iPad or iPhone while you watch a video.
The really exciting part is Sonos is finally rolling out these new features to their speakers, letting Alexa and Siri finally live in one vessel. That means you can stream music from AirPlay 2 and ask Alexa to turn down the volume. That might not sound so amazing, but it's one of the only devices on the market that can do it.
This is good news for the company that has recently filed to go public just two days ago as they continue to compete in a very small smart speaker market - or more accurately, a more cutthroat smart speaker market.