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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36 replies

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My concern is that Apple is partnering with many speaker manufacturers to introduce a seamless experience within the ecosystem. The sonos app has always been the weak spot in the equation.

Im willing to sell my sonos equipment to have the convenience of using the iOS built in app and controls with my speakers.

Not seeing sonos on the list of AirPlay 2 companies was the biggest let down since finding out sonos didn't work with the built in app after purchase.
The Homepod looks interesting. I will be holding off purchasing any more Sonos products until more info on that is available (and until Sonos fix the unintuitive queue controls)
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I really hope this will give SONOS the kick in the pants they need to speed up their product development. Their app is clunky, could use improvement, and the Echo integration seems to be taking forever. I was thinking of buying a Playbase but no line in. What's up with that.
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BBC 'mainstream' article says the new Homepod sounds superb and closes with this:
"So should Amazon and Google be worried by Apple's new gadget? Not yet. There's more than enough room for all of them, and besides, the real casualty in this race will be the likes of Sonos and Bose. Now simply sounding great is no longer enough."
I'm rather inclined to agree.
i hope sonos will support these features too. Apple music comes also later, so there is a little chance that sonos implents it. Otherwise Sonos would be a little bit more unactractive =)

maci2100
Homepod looks like a nice product for Apple fans but my main takeaways were:

1- Not out till Christmas... does this mean they are skipping Black Friday (when Amazon is going to sell about a bezillion Echo's)?

2- Kind of expensive to compete with Echo or Google Home and I don't see anything like an entry level Echo Dot competitor. Looks more like they are targeting Sonos than the Voice Assistant players.

I don't think this is going to pull in a lot of new customers... just a play to retain people already invested in the Apple ecosystem.
I think you nailed it! I have both Google Home and Amazon Alexa. They both have music solutions so Sonos will always be a second class citizen. I had hoped that Apple was going to have a major Sonos announcement today but instead made fun of this solution (which is worse than not being mentioned). Home automation is so fractured but is what is needed in a home assist. The initial HomePod is underwhelming as it ignores movie and outdoor music scenarios but while Apple is often late to the game they tend to get it right eventually. I don’t trust Amazon or Google the way I trust Apple so my focus may change. Sonos do something to truly wow me as there is a treat on the horizon!
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Same feeling here! Am an Apple user for 40 years (!) now, but I am on Spotify and Sonos (with Logitec Harmony). The HomePod announcement means HomeKit won't integrate Sonos soon, but also that Apple will slow down any integration of Sonos in the future!
The good news is competitors can go faster now and get as much as Apple users they can (all the ones that are not Apple Music clients!). It will take years before Apple opens the Homepods to other music services...
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)!
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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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Homepod looks good , as a new owner of sonos 5.1 system , i love it , and like everyone else hoping for alexa integration
Now simply sounding great is no longer enough."
I'm rather inclined to agree.

So am I, but sounding great will still be needed, and sounding great also includes high uptime - no stuttering/interruptions in music service. Sonos still isn't as perfect as wired legacy kit in this respect, but closer by far than anyone else to that goal. And for that reason, they still are very much in the game. But there is no doubt they have to pick up speed on things like Alexa integration and more going forward.
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Apple's entry into a wireless speaker will help SONOS - stimulating the market.
The HomePod is far to expensive compared to SONOS Play One and Dot.
Plus SONOS have all the streaming services with Alexa due soon.
HomePod looks like it will only have Apple Music integration- which makes sense, they dont want to encourage Spotify GPM etc
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.
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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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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.

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.
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.
Apple have said there will be an API to allow music streaming services to integrate with the HomePod.
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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 also removed the need for the hardware authentication chip for HomeKit devices.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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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?