From what I've read on airplay 2, it is believe that apple will have the ability to send audio from your iPhone/ipad to multiple speakers and have them play in sync. Now, this could be just a feature of the homepod, as clearly Apple wants multiple Homepods to play in sync. However, does this also mean that other airplay 2 compatable speakers will be able to play in sync? For example, your Homepod, Bose speaker, and Sonos can all play in sync. I've read some things suggesting that's the case.
This does somewhat make sense. Airplay 2 apparently requires compatible speakers to have a lot of memory available for buffering. If you want lots of unlike speakers to play in sync, having a big buffer would likely make that more easily accomplished, as I understand it. I don't have the right equipment to test this out personally, not even sure if there are enough airplay 2 compatible speakers that have been released to test it out.
Going on the assumption that this is true, how does that change things in the world of multi-room audio? If Apple 2 can create mutiroom audio using speakers from multiple brands, and do a decent job of it, does that impact how people shop for multi room audio? I don't know that it drives people to buy Homepods, but perhaps they opt to get a Bose instead of Sonos, for example, to add on to their existing system?
As well, does this motivate Amazon and Google to come up with their own multi-room, multi-brand audio protocol? This definitely is something that customers want. Customers have been asked why they can't group echos and sonos speakers together since Sonos went live with Alexa voice control. Does that eventually cause a shift in the way customers think about mutliroom audio. In the same way they think about using Amazon, Google, or Apple for voice control, will the think of the options for multiroom being Amazon, Google, or Apple as well?
Don't get me wrong, I don't see Airplay 2, or the theoretically other multi-room audio protocols, being superior to Sonos alone. However, name recognition and marketing matters, and the others have that advantage. I can see where people would go with Apple for example, even knowing that it's not as good, just because they like the name.
I'd also say that Sonos has a strong advantage still regarding options for music sources, options for voice control (coming soon), and HT audio. Sonos seems to be focusing mostly on voice control and HT. The 'works with Sonos' program that Onkyo is in, as well as the new product announcement in a couple days as a sign that Sonos is definitely looking at Home Theatre features as a way to differentiate themselves from the competition.