Bose has today announced its latest smart speakers, or more specifically, one smart speaker and two smart soundbars. With Alexa voice control built-in, support coming for Google Assistant, and AirPlay 2 arriving next year, Bose is looking to better compete with Amazon, Google, and Apple.
Bose detailed its three new offerings in a press release today, the Bose Home Speaker 500 and Bose Soundbar 500 and 700. All three have integrated Alexa voice control and can be used on their own or as a multi-room system.
Apple users will be pleased to hear these new speakers will be gaining AirPlay 2 support in “early 2019.” While Bose didn’t specifically mention Google Assistant, presumably that functionality will also be arriving as it said “other voice assistants to follow.”
Other features the Home Speaker 500 and Soundbar 500 and 700 share include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Bose’s proprietary custom-designed eight-microphone array. It is “precisely positioned for accurate near-field and far-field voice pickup” that allows the speakers to hear commands even when you have the audio turned up high.
Great news for Sonos customers: AirPlay 2 has arrived. This makes compatible Sonos speakers the first third-party AirPlay 2 speakers to hit the market, and support is being added retroactively through a free software update.
This means you can use Sonos speakers to play audio from iTunes on the Mac and all iPhone and iPad apps including Music, TV, YouTube, and Netflix. Sonos speakers can also be used for multi-room audio playback with HomePod and Apple TV, and Siri can control Apple Music and Podcasts playback from iPhone, iPad, HomePod, or Apple TV.
9to5Mac Happy Hour Sonos customers have long requested AirPlay support for their speakers, but Sonos cited issues with latency and playback interruptions as reasons for not adopting Apple’s wireless streaming protocol. Sonos changed their tune when Apple unveiled AirPlay 2 which reduces latency and accounts for Wi-Fi interruptions.
AirPlay 2 works with the newest Sonos speakers (recognizable by their touch controls instead of hardware buttons) which includes Sonos Beam, Sonos Playbase, Sonos One, and Sonos Play:5.
You’re not totally out of luck if you have other Sonos speakers, but AirPlay 2 is a lot easier to use on newer speakers. Older Sonos speakers can work with AirPlay 2 when paired with compatible speakers (like a Sonos Play:1 paired with a Sonos One as a single stereo speaker). You can also press play on an older Sonos speaker without AirPlay 2 to pick up the audio stream from a compatible Sonos speaker.
Good to see Apple open up 3rd party integration with Sonos for AirPlay 2.