Thoughts after the WWDC Keynote? (AIrPlay 2.0, HomePod, etc.)


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1. HomePod:
I think after Apple's announcement today, Sonos might feel more pressure to push the Alexa integration for release. I hope Sonos figures this out soon.

2. AirPlay 2.0
AirPlay 2.0 is a direct Sonos competitor, although I am not sure how well it will work, at least right off the bat. For example, without a 'bridge' or 'boost', I am not sure how smooth AirPlay 2.0 would work in big houses. and would AirPlay transmit whatever sound from my phone (ringtone, youtube video, etc.)?

Overall I don't think most potential Sonos customers would go for HomePod instead. It doesn't offer a full home theater solution, and it's expensive (for the price of one, you can get two Play 1s right now with the promotion, and stereo sounds so much better). If Sonos can announce Alexa support soon, it would be a no-brainer for anybody in the market (an echo dot is only $40).

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I don't understand the notion of HomePod being a Sonos competitor. If Apple/Beats had a full line-up of connected home speakers would be one thing. Apple is stepping into this space 15 years after Sonos basically created it (OK maybe it's their second step, if you count original AirPlay) - it doesn't make sense for them NOT to integrate fully with the install base, the biggest of which should be Sonos. The partner line-up presented last week by Apple was broad, so I can only assume it's Sonos dragging their feet? That on the other hand does not make sense either - I seem to have read recently that Sonos wanted to open up their system more. What's up with this lack of direction on how HomePod and Sonos will integrate?

Snide remarks on this forum on HomePod not being available now, Siri's incompetence...lighten up and look a bit ahead. This community ought to be fully embracing and pushing for a seamless integration. Amazon Alexa showed the importance of intelligent speakers and with home automation it's a no brainer. In our family it was really the kids and my wife who embraced Alexa - let's face it, even Sonos (app) is too complex. No doubt Apple can improve the experience. We are not native English speakers, so Siri has a leg up there on both Amazon and Google and is sure to get a massive intelligence boost in the coming months, and I don't really see anyone else on that horizon.

I once had high expectations for Apple dominating the wireless multi-room space, possible through an early Sonos acquisition, but that didn't pan out and AirPlay "1" was a huge letdown. I have since decked out my house with Sonos and was pleased to see the Apple Music integrate with Sonos, although I would much rather have operated it through the Apple Music interface (which says a lot - they didn't exactly get it right in the first go-around). I am fully expecting the HomePod to become another valuable addition to such a setup - but the signs are not good.

Let's get some clear statements from Sonos? If you are open to integration and a Apple are obstructing then let's all get on the Apple forums and make our voices heard, I bet the overlap in customer base is massive.
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So I am a smart home nut but the reasons for having a voice assistant aren't beneficial enough for me to get whatever is currently on the market. I use my Apple Watch telling Siri to turn on and off my lights open doors etc. if I want to look something up I just look it up. If I want to set a timer I set it on my watch. Voice assistants have a long ways to go to be truly beneficial and I am sure they will get there. Apples strength is in music and that's a way they could separate themselves from google home and Alexa, in order to justify the price, apple had to drop the Sonos name, and if you look online the speaker is comparable to a play 3 which are within 50 bucks on pricing. We will see if Siri can reach the assistant capability of others but I don't see this product attracting a swap out from sonos to apple in the common home. Sonos protocols are proven and never drop between speakers. AirPlay 1 has a bad rap that will follow airplay 2 until airplay 2 proves otherwise. Sonos has multiple types of speakers for different situations. The best outcome I could see for apple is someone buying the homepod because they are interested in a digital assistant that has HomeKit capability. The most I could ever see myself outfitting in my house is one homepod and not using it to listen to music when I'm cleaning the house because I have a great system already, but using it for home assistance. Which makes it unappealing to me based on wwdc because they only showed is music playing prowess. On that note they will have to upgrade Siri to make that ultimately compelling for me to buy one.
I'm guessing you've never tried to navigate using Siri. What a joke. Tried returning a rental car at NWK a couple weeks ago, coworker nagivating via Siri. Siri guided us to the departures for AA, and announced, "you've arrived!" Um. Gave her my Samsung phone, Google got us there with far better instructions, including which lane to be in. Siri is the best Apple has to offer? Gimmie a break!
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I'm not sure I need to include the word "yet", it's pretty implicit when describing a "juggernaught" that's not a juggernaught in this particular area. My whole point was your description does not reflect the history of Airplay, so we will see.
I agree entirely that my description does not reflect the history of Airplay. My comments were meant to focus primarily on what the future might hold. And you're right, we'll see. I'm sure there are plenty of developments in store on all sides.
I'm not sure I need to include the word "yet", it's pretty implicit when describing a "juggernaught" that's not a juggernaught in this particular area. My whole point was your description does not reflect the history of Airplay or Apple speakers, any future speculation has no bearing on that point.
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Apple hardly mowed down the competition with Airplay 1. Matter of fact, it was obsolete the day it came out, and its architecture was rejected by every streaming device/scheme released since, (ironically) in favor of the direct-from-source architecture originally deployed by Sonos. They've also had some spectacular failures in the speaker hardware area (iPod Hi-Fi anyone?) Apple is a lot of things, a speaker manufacturing juggernaut who "mows down" the competition is not one of them.

You mean not yet, don't you? Yes, there have been failures. But on balance Apple is a huge business that doesn't fail often or for long. Clearly it is intent on advancing in this area. It's too early to tell for certain, but the new AirPlay is likely to be more impressive, along with the new Apple hardware. For that reason alone, Sonos needs to up its game. I'm happy with both Apple and Android products. And I think Sonos speakers are great, but with a weak feature set. History has proven the "best" does not always win when convenience becomes an issue. An interesting example might be the new KEF LS50 "wireless" speakers, which by most accounts have superb sound quality and should be a hit because of their builtin DACs and other convenience features. But people are beginning to become quite annoyed with subpar software and firmware upgrades that in some cases are worsening sound quality. The jury is still out on that one because the product is young.
I've had so many problems with the Sonos app on my iMac that I'm done with their products. Can't wait for the HomePod's to hit the market. The Songs app will not even start up anymore...rendering all of my speakers as useless paperweights.
Apple is expensive, but it does have distinct USPs that are slickly marketed to allow the capture of the premium paying market. I don't see enough of them here and I doubt that people that buy this just because it is from Apple will be enough of a market.

That said, I never saw any sense in the iPad, and I still don't but there is large market for them.

That's true, of course. But as we all know, Apple in many cases mows down those standing in their way. I'm not among those predicting the demise of Sonos, but certainly this is a wakeup call. Not advancing rapidly at this stage certainly won't do Sonos much good. The more crowded the field, the smaller the piece of the pie and the shorter the attention span of customers.


Apple hardly mowed down the competition with Airplay 1. Matter of fact, it was obsolete the day it came out, and its architecture was rejected by every streaming device/scheme released since, (ironically) in favor of the direct-from-source architecture originally deployed by Sonos. They've also had some spectacular failures in the speaker hardware area (iPod Hi-Fi anyone?) Apple is a lot of things, a speaker manufacturing juggernaut who "mows down" the competition is not one of them.
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How is the Amazon partnership working out for you so far?


Amazon unlimited music working beautifully on my Sonos, as is the Dot into my Connect. How's the new Apple speaker working out for you? Oh, wait..


I also have a Dot into my Connect. Pretty useless, IMHO. I have Amazon unlimited, whose selection pales in comparison to the other music services I use. So I don't like it much. But at least it's almost free (sort of--I think with all the discounts I pay $4 a month). I use an Android phone, and control Sonos with both an iPad and a Samsung tablet. Regardless of your opinion, Sonos needs to pick up the ball and run a little faster at this point. This is starting to remind me of the newspaper business (of which I was once part). Most newspapers saw no threat from this thing called the internet, so they fell so far behind they are now either gone or teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. The smart ones saw the writing on the wall, got ahead of the game and are still in the running. However, they were few and far between.

How is the Amazon partnership working out for you so far?


Amazon unlimited music working beautifully on my Sonos, as is the Dot into my Connect. How's the new Apple speaker working out for you? Oh, wait..
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iOS is installed on just 18% of smartphones sold last quarter. Android is on 80%. There's simply no chance this new gadget will be a threat to Amazon, which is partners with Sonos. Another Apple fanboy pipe dream.
How is the Amazon partnership working out for you so far?
iOS is installed on just 18% of smartphones sold last quarter. Android is on 80%. There's simply no chance this new gadget will be a threat to Amazon, which is partners with Sonos. Another Apple fanboy pipe dream.
That's true, of course. But as we all know, Apple in many cases mows down those standing in their way. [...]
We will see – for the very reason that Apple is missing the charismatic leadership of Steve Jobs. However, it is all in the eye of the beholder, as the old saying goes.
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Folks, a presentation is not equivalent to a practical application. It remains to be seen how well Airplay2 and the HomePod will do in the (multi-room) field.
That's true, of course. But as we all know, Apple in many cases mows down those standing in their way. I'm not among those predicting the demise of Sonos, but certainly this is a wakeup call. Not advancing rapidly at this stage certainly won't do Sonos much good. The more crowded the field, the smaller the piece of the pie and the shorter the attention span of customers.
Folks, a presentation is not equivalent to a practical application. It remains to be seen how well Airplay2 and the HomePod will do in the (multi-room) field.
Apple have also removed the need for the hardware authentication chip for HomeKit devices.
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I am appreciative of the sound quality and usually superb multi-room functionality of my Sonos gear. However, Sonos is falling far behind in its interface and features. Before the usual "defenders" jump in, I don't care whose fault it is. My Sonos lacks key functionality in everything from music to podcasts to audio books. My hope is that the latest Apple moves will force Sonos to move into higher gear and convince it to attempt to persuade third parties to step up their Sonos game.
Apple have said there will be an API to allow music streaming services to integrate with the HomePod.
Apple seems to be on the other side of the divide compared to Sonos or Amazon in wanting to be everything on its own here. Sonos has said that they want to be the speaker that is used in any home automation set up. Amazon says that they developed the Dot so that people could use Alexa skills with the speaker/make they like - both are partnering approaches.

I'd say Apple is wrong here, but it will be interesting to see how things pan out.
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To sum it up. HomePod is not the right choice for home owners. It might be the right one for one room but it can't 'rock the house' as promised. I have no idea what Apple engineers thought about developing a single speaker without LAN and Fiber interfaces. I am operating about 10 zones in my home and I am loving the superbe TV integration and the full clear sound. How should I make a Home Theater installation with Apples HomePod without connecting it to the TV? How can I connect the speakers to my home ethernet in order to create a reliable and stable music network without destroying my WiFi bandwidth? How can I add some bass power in larger rooms (don't tell me this is not necessary)?
Dear Sonos developers. Please be open to AirPlay and AirPlay 2. Please try to integrate the beloved Apple ecosystem as good as possible. We want to use your excellent sound devices together with the beautiful Apple software like Siri and HomeKit. This way you can win the battle very easily.
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I was waiting the keynote, now I know I have to buy a Echo Dot to unite my Sonos speakers, Spotify Music and Hue lights! Looking forward to seeing what Sonos ans Echo do together (but afraid of being disappointed)!
I had the original Alexa via work and when I had to give it back I bought a Dot. The Dot’s mics are not as good. Not sure why the reviews don’t identify this.
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Some folks here in the UK got Echos and Dots from the USA and got them working without Location Services etc
$50 for a Dot it may work with English when SONOS Alexa comes out. Prime wont work though.

I think HomePod launch outside the UK may be some time.
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It pissed me off a bit seeing the Apple product integrate so well great sound quality and the ease of use of Siri. It's quite obvious now why we didn't have any development of the Apple Music experience on our Sonos, and why Apple Homekit is still neglecting the Sonos integration: Apple must have vetoed any work on its part. I could wait for the incredibly difficult Alexa integration (pun intended), but, living in Italy, I still won't be able to use any Alexa on the Sonos products for a long time, because Alexa doesn't understand nor speak Italian. So this puts me back to... dreaming of using Siri instead. And Siri speaks Italian, and understands it as well, for the little every day needs. And it's going to become even smarter. And at home we have two iPhones, two iPads, two Apple watches, an iMac, a MacBook and the AppleTV, so integrating a HomePod would be just easy.
I don't know. It's tempting. I have three Sonos Play 1 and one Sonos Play 5 sec gen, was planning to buy another 1, but now I'm getting confused. What if Apple begins producing a Surround set, a Sub and some bigger HomePods? I'd raise my hands and get them all.
Come on, Sonos: do the Alexa thing, and work on the Mobile player experience. I still can't do playlists, manage them, put the song I'm listening to on Facebook, edit queues... all the well know issues with the player, that is. So many things it's missing now.
IMHO, of course
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I think that Apple entering the market with a product that crosses both home assistants and home music diffusion is great to encourage others, like Sonos, to do their best.

What I can't still imagine is a Sonos-powered home replaced with HomePod (or Google's or Amazon's): I mean, these assistants have some kind of "brain" and would be a big waste to have 10 HomePods around the house; also (of course I haven't heard how it sounds) it's hard to see a single speaker replacing all the range Sonos is covering, from soundbars to subwoofers. What I was hoping for is a "brain" to better rule the existing Sonos lineup. I don't know who will produce it but that would be a great product; I'm not seeing at the moment any of them as a replacement for Sonos, even with a great sound quality.

Sonos still has its competition in Bose and other manufacturers. Of course, they have to improve (damn you!) the whole UX thing... I'm not up-to-date with Alexa integration (also outside English speaking countries Siri & co. don't do a great job) but would be cool to have it.

In the end, if I was living in a small house or room and need a single speaker, I would probably look forward Apple's. But for a larger, multiroom scenario still Sonos has the edge IMHO.