Sonos speakers now work with AirPlay 2

Sonos speakers now work with AirPlay 2, control Apple Music with Siri | 9to5Mac:

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.

“It Sounded Like Cardboard”

David Pogue gets a sneak preview of the Apple HomePod:

In a devastatingly effective demo, Apple lines up four of these things: The Google Home Max ($400), Sonos One ($200), Amazon Echo ($100), and the HomePod. They’re volume-matched and rigged to an A/B/C/D switch, so a single song can hop from one to the other. (Apple even installed a halo backlight behind each speaker that illuminated to show you which one was playing.)

The HomePod sounded the best. Its bass, in particular, was amazing: full and deep, but also distinct and never muddy — you could hear the actual pitch of the bass notes, not just the thud. That, unsurprisingly, is where other small speakers have trouble.

The Amazon Echo is a much smaller, slimmer device, one-third the price, so it’s forgiven for sounding thin compared with the HomePod. The Sonos One came awfully close to the HomePod’s rich sound; you’d really have to hear the A/B test to declare a difference. The real shock was the Google Home Max, a massive, 12-pound machine that’s supposed to be all about the sound; it sounded like cardboard compared with the HomePod and Sonos.

So for audio quality, the HomePod truly is the best sounding device. It is surprising and damning that the Google Home Max did not sound good at all for such an expensive device. 

SmartThings iPhone-controlled Home

SmartThings Founder Sees a Limitless Internet of Things

Patrick Thibodeau:

SmartThings builds a hub that connects to a home router and to sensors that can detect states like motion, moisture, temperature, or presence, such as the comings and goings of pets. But more important, it’s building an open development platform for independent developers and device makers developing tools for the Internet of Things.

For instance, in SmartThings offices, a Sonos wireless speaker suddenly blares with the sound of a barking dog. It sounds very real. A developer created a connection between a door bell and a virtual guard dog that will bark if no one is home.

Why stop at a barking dog?

The wireless speaker can be linked to network enabled smoke detector, which can be used to help spread the alarm and even relay pre-recorded instructions to a child in an emergency.

The possibilities expand creatively.

You wake up, walk into kitchen, where a motion detector senses your presence and knows, because you gave an audible ‘good morning’ signal to your smart phone, that it’s time for you start getting ready for work. A weather app announces the forecast over the speaker and then shifts to the type of music you like at that hour. All are integrated into the SmartThing’s app platform.

You wake up, walk into kitchen, where a motion detector senses your presence and knows, because you gave an audible ‘good morning’ signal to your smart phone, that it’s time for you start getting ready for work. A weather app announces the forecast over the speaker and then shifts to the type of music you like at that hour. All are integrated into the SmartThing’s app platform.

SmartThings, Wemo, Sonos, Philips HUE – They are all embracing the new age of wireless, mobile device managed automation. I am all onboard and will post thoughts and reviews soon.