Question

Sonos Ones or HomePod

  • 18 January 2018
  • 31 replies
  • 1531 views

I am deeply entrenched in the Apple ecosystem and am looking to start to move away from it (although I don't plan on eliminating their products, completely). What do folks think about my purchasing two Sonos Ones and using them as a stereo pair versus waiting for the HomePod (especially others with Apple devices)? Does the potential of Airplay 2 on Sonos devices in the future mean that it will ever be compatible with Siri? Is it a bad idea to start to fragment things too much? I wish I could get these to work with my TV or Apple TV via Airplay 2 in the future, but I guess I'll just have to save up for the soundbar and sub, which may take some time, but I'm more interested in listening to good music than I am in watching TV, anyways. What are your thoughts for someone heavily entrenched in the Apple ecosystem, but really wanting to go with Sonos? I currently do not own any Sonos products. Thank you!

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31 replies

I would wait till there are enough reviews of the Apple product once it is released in a few months.
I agree Kumar, and plan to, but I know that Apple Music will be all that will work with the HomePod, and feel that Sonos will remain relatively neutral, which will be helpful if I decide to continue to purchase products outside of Apple. Do you see a benefit in that? I am anticipating glowing reviews of the HomePod as seemed to be the case at WWDC, but having it out amongst a whole bunch of users will certainly offer new insights.
I said what I did in response to your "entrenched" situation; I used Macs + Androids + Sonos in a horses for courses approach. In your case, with a promising Apple home audio solution around the corner, this may not be the time to change your approach; not until you know all that Apple will/will not bring to the table. While Apple Music is all that may work with HomePod initially, that isn't a trifle. I use Apple Music and find it to be as good as I need a streaming service to be.

Also, none of us here can help because none have any exposure to HomePods; no one does at this time. All that can be said at this time is that it won't be cheap! Any more genuine insights can only come after the product is used or tested after commercial release.
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My two cents, two ones in stereo sounds amazing and you can get it today
Thanks Pirate. I feel like if I am trying to slowly build a nice home audio system Sonos is the way to go, even only knowing what I know from the June reviews of HomePod. If I buy two Play Ones then I can add a Sonos soundbar and sub at some point. Who knows if and when Apple will develop and release a whole line of speakers like Sonos. Also, it sounds like with Airport 2 on the way I may still have some Siri functionality in the future.

To Kumar's point about the HomePod not being cheap, I agree, but the Play:3 was $300 until recently and the reviewers in June at WWDC said that it was the closest in sound/overall comprability to the HomePod, and it isn't a smart speaker.

I don't know. I've been waiting a few years to figure out which direction to go in with a home audio system, and then the whole smart speaker phenomenon happened shortly after I decided to invest in something I could really enjoy my music on outside of my 10 year old Bose iPod dock. I've been in a holding pattern for so long now I feel like I just have to pull the trigger and enjoy the music and the speakers they're playing on or I'll still be waiting when I'm in my grave.
I just have to pull the trigger and enjoy the music and the speakers they're playing on or I'll still be waiting when I'm in my grave.
Just when HomePods were announced months ago, the above made sense; it is just that now that their launch is a month or so away, it isn't a long wait. I believe that inventory building at Apple is in full swing to be ready for the impending launch. The thing to see is if Apple can replicate what they did with iPods on launch some fifteen years ago when their all integrated product swept away the players that were not end to end integrated the way iPod was.
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I just have to pull the trigger and enjoy the music and the speakers they're playing on or I'll still be waiting when I'm in my grave.
Just when HomePods were announced months ago, the above made sense; it is just that now that their launch is a month or so away, it isn't a long wait. I believe that inventory building at Apple is in full swing to be ready for the impending launch. The thing to see is if Apple can replicate what they did with iPods on launch some fifteen years ago when their all integrated product swept away the players that were not end to end integrated the way iPod was.


Very fair point.
Will Apple slow them down as they age? Lol.

Seriously, though, Apple is in the planned obsolescence business. Three years hence, they will begin to obsolete the HomePod with some new “must have” replacement, and the Apple lemmings will be standing in line to buy it. Predictable as the sunrise.
One can hope that HomePods will be more like iPods before the advent of iOS. Working iPod classics are not obsolete even today.
Will Apple slow them down as they age? Lol.

Seriously, though, Apple is in the planned obsolescence business. Three years hence, they will begin to obsolete the HomePod with some new “must have” replacement, and the Apple lemmings will be standing in line to buy it. Predictable as the sunrise.


Ugh. I know. That's why I'm so torn, chicks.

I am going to wait for the HomePod to roll out and get into the hands of some end users as Kumar has a good point about it a) being right around the corner and b) end to end integration. I've been using Apple products (an Apple lemming, if you will :D) since before I could purchase them myself (family machines as a kid decades ago). I've always loved them. I bought my wife an Apple Watch this Christmas because it just made sense to complement her iPhone versus another smart watch. I have, however, had a few very sour experiences over the past few years whereas I went decades with barely an issue previously.
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First off you can get two Sonos Play:1’s for the cost of a single HomePod. That’s a bonus right off the hop.

I’m huge into the Apple ecosystem which is what drove me to Sonos. Apple Music is trouble free on Sonos, and you have to option of all the other streaming services.

While I suspect Apple will allow other streaming services with HomePod, I’d expect that to roll out slowly.

Once AirPlay 2 is released, using Sonos with Apple is going to be even better.

These were the basis for my decision to invest in Sonos rather than to wait for HomePod.
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I agree with jjayf. It nice not being locked in with Apple. With Sonos One you Sonos, Alexa, upcoming Google, and upcoming Apple. All in one. Versus a HomePod which Apple dictates what it is ever capable of. And there is no way two Sonos Ones don’t blow away Homepod in sound.
Apple Music isn't full featured on Sonos even today because it lacks the Like/Heart feature that is there in the native app that still cannot be used with Sonos. For some, this is a big on going miss. With HomePods, this will be available from day 1. And it will be interesting to see if the voice control is better integrated than for Sonos at this time with Alexa that is still clunky.

And Apple claims a different approach to getting better sound from a HomePod pair in a room than conventional stereo pairing. It would be interesting to see if these claims hold up in actual user tests.

As a long time Sonos user, I see no reason to switch to HomePods, but in the OP boat I would be waiting to evaluate it before making any calls. As to all in one versus not being locked in, the same argument would have applied to the iPod on its launch in 2000. We know what happened then. As I wrote, another good reason to wait and watch for someone making a first time call.
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Well when I say Apple In This instance I mean airplay2 which is more full Apple experience.
A couple of more points about Apple - as far as HomePod goes, the true measure of its sound quality IMO would be in comparison to a pair, compared to a 5 pair. At a price slightly below a 5 pair, but both quite expensive. One could even argue that the HomePods look better with a smaller footprint and the 360 degree arrayed 7 tweeters sound interesting and worth giving a whirl. Audiophiles would violently disagree of course.

As to planned obsolescence I have a mixed experience of Apple - my 2011 wireless Time Capsule basestation and Express extenders from Apple work flawlessly even today in the manner of a generic product, and firmware was seamlessly upgraded just a month ago. I also have no issues with two MacBook Pros - one from 2010 and one from 2014. On the other hand, my 2011 iPod touch, while fully functional, now cannot be used for hosting a Sonos controller because the iOS versions no longer are accommodated on it. But it works fine as a dedicated to music bluetooth source even today.

As with Bose, if one picks and chooses, good results can be obtained. It is not necessary to either shirk all their products or be a 100% adherent, for best outcomes.

PS: the other thing to evaluate would be stability of Airplay 2 running HomePods versus Sonos on Sonos net. Music play stability trumps everything else.
I bought my wife an Apple Watch this Christmas because it just made sense to complement her iPhone versus another smart watch.
There is nothing like the touch/feel of Apple products even today. I use an Android phone because iPhones don't meet my value for money benchmarks and I don't need most of the features. But using an old iPhone that my son has discarded, as a Sonos controller and bluetooth audio source, is a pleasure. It is a lot slicker than my newer Android phone in the way it feels and responds akin to the difference between Macs and clunky PCs. It isn't a surprise that Sonos emulates Apple in many ways, down to package designs.
I would not be surprised to see a usable integration of the Apple Watch and HomePods...that, if it comes, will take some time coming to Sonos. Another reason for some patience:-).
The HomePod gained FCC approval yesterday so should be available within a month.
Available February 9th.
Available February 9th.
Rats too late to edit, of course you need Apple Music and other Apple devices to work it. So does leaves Android users out and severely limited with the choice of music service.

And... major fail on launch no synced multi-room music.
What!? No synched multi-room? So it's just a months delayed glorified Airplay speaker?

Bwahaha, way to go Apple! :8
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They even say not full Siri.
As near as I can tell from the sources I've read, it's only for music purchased through Apple music, so apparently not my imported CDs. Which seems not good. Love to be pointed out as wrong, although I don't think I'll be giving up my Sonos investment anytime soon.
No synched multi-room?
I suppose this does not apply to using two HomePods in one room - Apple has been implicitly claiming superiority of that to conventional stereo pairing or independent grouping since June. Anything said if there are more than two HomePods in the same space?
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The article I read this morning said even stereo pairing is coming later - so I'm assuming if you have 2 Homepods there really is no way to use them both in same room.
Will not both play as independent speakers? Come to think of it, they will almost certainly not be in sync, so it won't work even if they do. So there will still be no way to evaluate a HomePod pair v a 5 pair for some time to come.
As balanced an article as any on the subject, including references to how the same situation prevailed at the iPod/iPhone/Apple Watch launch: https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/23/16923288/apple-homepod-price-features-vs-echo-google-home-ipod-history

With the rider/twist in the last sentence; only time will tell.