AirPlay

  • 1 September 2010
  • 209 replies
  • 73849 views


Show first post
This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

209 replies


1) Lot's of specialty music and language apps on the iphone do things that Sonos would never want to do. Musicians, like myself, love iPhone apps for learning music (especially small segments of a song). These apps have great controls for A-B repeat, for playing music back at slower speeds, and for quick skips back at user specified intervals (like 10, 20, 30 seconds). These same apps are very popular for people learning a language or for listening to AudioBooks. I so BADLY want to sit out on my deck with my iphone and listen to these apps with my Sonos system


I may be wrong, but I'm not convinced that Airplay supports this at all. All of the literature I have seen suggests it is very much a function of iTunes.

2) Guests with iPods ("Hey, Listen to this track") . The appendage free approach of AirPlay is so much more desirable than the new wireless Sonos dock.


I disagree. I can plug an iPod into a dock in about 2 seconds. It will play ANY source including the one that was playing when they walked into the house, and charges at the same time. Pairing a visitors iPod with my wifi is a faff, and there's a strong possibility of their battery dying.

Airplay sounds "cool", Apple are good at that: making mundane me-too developments sound "sexy" and "innovative", but it's really not that special. Sonos already supports UPnP and it's possible (with the right app) to push music from most modern smartphones to Sonos without the need for some proprietary Apple-only standard.

3) Marketing issues. We DON'T want potential buyers to think: Well gee i love my apple stuff so I better get the fully compatible AirPlay system. We want them to think. Hey I'll get Sonos so I can get iTunes AND AirPlay AND Pandora AND Local Radio


With this I agree. The more iSheep that can be converted the better.

Cheers,

Keith
Userlevel 2
i doubt this will happen because in order to do this they would have to pay apple for the use to incorporate it into there device.
Userlevel 2
I may be wrong, but I'm not convinced that Airplay supports this at all. All of the literature I have seen suggests it is very much a function of iTunes.

I just did some research (google pandora apple airplay). Airplay apparently works with all audio apps. They''re still in beta, but i found people who've tested streaming from their iPad on iOS 4.2 (4.2 is not yet in Beta for the iphone) using a wide variety of audio and video apps, including Pandora, Netflix, BBC and others. So my original point about the value of supporting airplay regarding special music and language iOS apps does apply.


I disagree. I can plug an iPod into a dock in about 2 seconds. It will play ANY source including the one that was playing when they walked into the house, and charges at the same time. Pairing a visitors iPod with my wifi is a faff, and there's a strong possibility of their battery dying.


It's OK for us to disagree on this, but consider that there are many places in my home where I hang out with friends (such as family room, living room, kitchen, backyard deck, eg). IMO it's SO much more convenient for someone to take out their iphone and just stream some music, and to continue to choose different tracks without having to be chained to a wire and an outlet. That's one of things I've always loved about Sonos. The fact that it's fully controlled from my seat, with no wires and a perfect interface. If it's an advantage for the sonos controllers then it's an advantage for iphone streaming. As far as WIFI pairing, that's never been a problem for me. Put in a password once and forget about it.

Airplay sounds "cool", Apple are good at that: making mundane me-too developments sound "sexy" and "innovative", but it's really not that special.


You really shouldn't be denigrating apple. They're the number one reason so many people have digital music (and thus the primary source of sonos customers), their iphone with its touch system is what you folks have copied on your newest controller, and their original ipod interface with scroll wheel was no doubt the inspiration for your original controller. If that doesn't move you regarding their level of innovation, just consider that every smartphone today is a copy of the iPhone's touch interface, and compare that to the smartphone world before the iphone. I'd bet that most of your customers love apple and love sonos. It's a good thing to keep in mind. :)

Pete
Userlevel 2
There will definitely be ONE way to get sonos to support Airplay. Buy an Apple AirPort Express, and plug a wire into it's audio out and plug the other end of that wire into the line-in on the back of a Sonos zoneplayer.

Any iPhone or iPad will now stream to any zoneplayer in your home

That's what I'll be doing, but I do believe that business wise it would be so much better for Sonos to support it directly.

You really shouldn't be denigrating apple. They're the number one reason so many people have digital music


That is fundamentally untrue. The digital music market was growing exponentially before Apple got involved. They simply hit the sweet spot in the market with the right products at the right time. If Apple hadn't been there, it would have been Creative, or Microsoft, or Rio, etc.

their iphone with its touch system is what you folks have copied on your newest controller, and their original ipod interface with scroll wheel was no doubt the inspiration for your original controller.


I haven't copied anyone. I have certainly never developed a controller. Sorry, but I'm not sure what you are talking about here.

just consider that every smartphone today is a copy of the iPhone's touch interface, and compare that to the smartphone world before the iphone.


Actually, that's not true either. I had two different touchscreen smartphones before the iPhone ever existed. Both used similar interfaces to the iPhone. The only reason these weren't as slick as the iPhone is now, is because the processors, memory, power, and screen technology didn't exist.

The only "innovation" I can see that Apple brought to the table with the iPhone is multi-touch, and that was through acquisition, not through development.

I'd bet that most of your customers love apple and love sonos. It's a good thing to keep in mind.


I've never asked any of my customers about Apple and Sonos, as it's not relevant to my business. I'm not sure why you should make this statement?

Cheers,

Keith
Userlevel 5
Badge +8
There will definitely be ONE way to get sonos to support Airplay. Buy an Apple AirPort Express, and plug a wire into it's audio out and plug the other end of that wire into the line-in on the back of a Sonos zoneplayer.

Any iPhone or iPad will now stream to any zoneplayer in your home

That's what I'll be doing, but I do believe that business wise it would be so much better for Sonos to support it directly.


Since it is this so easy (of course), I would much rather Sonos spent their valuable R&D time on less Apple-centric integration, and more music-based developments, like hi-rez support (although I have no use for it myself), Replay Gain, updating the desktop controller, de-cluttering the interface, multiple tags, the list of OTHER things to get excited about is endless...

Oh, and what Majik said, above. The fact that you even think that Apple invented the touchscreen, and ignore the fact that they ripped off the scroll wheel from a smaller company is completely the problem I have with Sonos' obsession with becoming iSonos.
Userlevel 2
The digital music market was growing exponentially before Apple got involved. They simply hit the sweet spot in the market with the right products at the right time. If Apple hadn't been there, it would have been Creative, or Microsoft, or Rio, etc.

This is something we'll need to agree to disagree on. It's true that the MP3 market was growing exponentially before apple. But the numbers were minuscule before the ipod. My opinion is that they would never have reached anywhere near the same numbers because the devices were so much less user friendly. (I had many of them, but I'm a Techie.) I know you disagree. That's OK.

I haven't copied anyone. I have certainly never developed a controller. Sorry, but I'm not sure what you are talking about here.
If you're a moderator on a sonos forum and you don't believe you're representing sonos, I'd keep that a secret on your next job interview. :)


Actually, that's not true either. I had two different touchscreen smartphones before the iPhone ever existed. Both used similar interfaces to the iPhone. The only reason these weren't as slick as the iPhone is now, is because the processors, memory, power, and screen technology didn't exist.


The iphone was the first phone or PDA with the complexity of a true smartphone that was 100% finger friendly (rather than dependent on a stylus) There were many smartphones prior to the iphone with just as much complexity and depth, requiring lots of CPU power (I had about 10 of them), and many finger friendly touch devices (such as a Garmin GPS), but the idea of putting those concepts together was a breakthrough that no one came close to before the iphone. It's amazing to me that this is not obvious. All of those Treos and windows mobile devices had all the power necessary to do an iphone, but nobody ever considered it.

Also Apple had the first MP3 player to use a scroll wheel for long lists, and Sonos copied them. They were the first MP3 player to automatically sync all of your music, (and required no knowledge of the desktop file system). They were the first MP3 player to provide integrated, on-line, music purchasing with automatic syncing, and the first MP3 player to take advantage of the smaller diameter hard drives, putting a thousand songs in your pocket. You see no innovation among any of those. I'm proud of you.

Cheers
Pete
Userlevel 2
I would much rather Sonos spent their valuable R&D time on less Apple-centric integration, and more music-based developments, like hi-rez support (although I have no use for it myself), Replay Gain, updating the desktop controller, de-cluttering the interface, multiple tags, the list of OTHER things to get excited about is endless...
I value the features that you do, with as much desire as you have, but in IMO there's a problem with this logic. Namely, the more product Sonos sells, the more money they have for R&D. With cumulative iPod sales of over 250 million and total iOS sales of over 120 million you're talking about an awful lot of apple customers who are potential Sonos customers. IMO AirPlay compatibility could have an enormous upside effect on Sonos sales in the coming years. I see AirPlay as becoming an important checklist item for a very significant portion of Apple customers. The biggest reason I want them to include AirPlay is so that they have great continued success, and therefore the budget to keep making great new innovative products.

Oh, and what Majik said, above. The fact that you even think that Apple invented the touchscreen, and ignore the fact that they ripped off the scroll wheel from a smaller company is completely the problem I have with Sonos' obsession with becoming iSonos.

I certainly don't think they invented the touch screen. I've owned more stylus based touch screen devices than anyone I know. I've also owned some early finger friendly devices. But I know of no pre-iphone, finger friendly units whose depth was within an order of magnitude of an iphone, a treo, or windows mobile.

The idea that you could look at a treo and say "lets provide that very deep kind of a product with a finger friendly interface" (and without number keys, no less) was a pretty radical departure. I guarantee you that if, before the iphone, you went to any phone manufacturer and suggested that they do that, they would have thrown you out laughing. And now they're all doing them.

If you do know of such a device (preceding the iphone) please let me know. Also tell me about which MP3 player had a scroll wheel before the iPod.

Pete
...there are many places in my home where I hang out with friends (such as family room, living room, kitchen, backyard deck, eg). IMO it's SO much more convenient for someone to take out their iphone and just stream some music, and to continue to choose different tracks without having to be chained to a wire and an outlet.I brought this up earlier in this thread, but it seems to have been ignored. I can do that 'take a device and just stream' now with my Win7 PC's, including the little wireless netbook. What is preventing this from happening on the iDevices as well? It's Apple, not Sonos, with the roadblock.
Userlevel 2
I brought this up earlier in this thread, but it seems to have been ignored. I can do that 'take a device and just stream' now with my Win7 PC's, including the little wireless netbook. What is preventing this from happening on the iDevices as well? It's Apple, not Sonos, with the roadblock.

When you have hundreds of millions of customers you choose your protocols, and amazingly, thousands of other manufacturers follow *you*. Sonos can blame apple all they want (I'm not saying they have been), but that's not the best way to maximize sales.

IMO doing what they do best while maximizing compatibility with those hundreds of millions of users would be the way to go.
I will point out for the hard-of-thinking (and iGullible who think that Apple invented everything) that I do not work for or represent Sonos in any way shape or form other than to help keep their forums tidy. I make this totally clear in my sig.

I can say what I want about any company including Apple and Sonos, and it's my business if I wish to do so.

Anyone who believes otherwise is wrong, and aught to avoid putting their English comprehension and IQ scores on their CV in future.

;)

Keith
Userlevel 5
Badge +8
I brought this up earlier in this thread, but it seems to have been ignored. I can do that 'take a device and just stream' now with my Win7 PC's, including the little wireless netbook. What is preventing this from happening on the iDevices as well? It's Apple, not Sonos, with the roadblock.

Yes. Mainly, I think the point is that Sonos already works with PCs, a much more prevalent and configurable technology - more hundreds of millions than use Macs. But the ipod and the iphone people are clamouring for all other manufacturers to change their technology to work with the devices they voluntarily bought into, that are locked down. I'm sure there's a good analogy somewhere, but I just can't think of it this morning.

The more companies pander to Apple, the more of a stranglehold they will have. People should be refusing to work with them and forcing them to be more open.

Oh, and I'm wrong about the scroll-wheel, sorry about that. Go Apple.
There is always a dilemma when one company dominates a market. Should other companies simply give up? Go for a small piece of the BIG market or a large piece of a much smaller market? Each company must run the numbers for their own business plan.

From my viewpoint, if a large company "owns" the market segment, innovation slows because the large company will want to maximize return on their investment by keeping products on the market as long as possible. At some point the concept of "controlling" their market comes into play. This mentality promotes what I consider to be dirty tricks, but the large player will consider these practices to be good strategy.

At this point companies riding on the coattails of the major, tend to spend more time reacting to the big guy than innovating their own products. An example of this is the SONOS iPad controller. The iPad development effort could have been directed toward an Android controller or a truly portable ZonePlayer, or a new product class. Another example is software "updates" by the major player. Each iTunes update seems to break 3rd party applications -- requiring an immediate, panic response from the 3rd parties. Forcing the competition to be in a constant reaction mode, is a method used to suppress competing products.

The cellphone market is a refreshing change from the usual monopoly game. While Apple is certainly a large, vocal, competent player, they are not the only big dog in town.
Userlevel 3
Just wanted to say I would love support for AirPlay on Sonos devices. Often I come home and want to continue playing my podcast or music via Sonos, but have to hook up my iPhone to a unit and do all the configuration (input selection via menus, etc).

I'd rather come home, hit the little AirPlay button and have it stream to my home and put the phone in my pocket -- where I can easily answer a phone call or use it to anything else I want. Having it on my table does me no good, even with the new Sonos dock!
If airplay really requires a chip as Majik states, I am not so sure I am still in favor of it. First of all, there is no reason to require extra hardware for such a feature, protocols already exist and are supported by many media renderers that allow you to do this without any extra hardware. So it would just be a dongle that apple wants to lock things down with. The need for a chip would mean that it wouldn't be compatible with my existing Sonos system.

Secondly, an airport express hooked to a zoneplayer would be an easy and viable option to get the capability. I would rather have that, than pay for the Apple dongle in every single Zoneplayer. In stead of having a "Airplay" music entry, you would go into the "Line in" Music menu, where you would have an entry "Airplay" (or any title you choose), not much of a difference interface-wise.

Thirdly, with the new dock, Sonos will have an option that comes very close to airplay, except that it requires to dock your device. On the upside, it doesn't drain your phone's battery, and music gets transported on Sonosnet, not via less optimized wifi.

I would suggest Sonos makes a FAQ how to set up an Airport Express with Sonos to get the Airplay ability, and there they could also point out why the dock might be a better option.
If airplay really requires a chip as Majik states,

It wasn't me! I have no idea if a chip is required. Technically there's no reason for one.

Cheers,

Keith
Here you go: :p

Now, with airplay, apparently your equipment needs a chip to be compatible. There is zero technical reason for a chip to be required. The reason is purely commercial: to create a new revenue stream for providing an utterly unremarkable function.

http://forums.sonos.com/showthread.php?p=111309

Edit: However, here's a device that apparently gets a firmware upgrade which makes it compatible:
http://www.iclarified.com/entry/index.php?enid=11604
Does seem to come from a company that also has to do with airplay though.

Some more reading here:
http://www.engadget.com/2010/09/09/is-bridgeco-the-foundation-for-made-for-airplay-apple-accessor/

Bingo:
AirPlay compatible stereos rely on a wireless chip designed by BridgeCo., an El Segundo, Calif., company that sells specialized chips for iPod docks, among other things. The company's new wireless chips for AirPlay are designed to act as a digital hub, receiving information from Apple's mobile devices and sending it out to stereo's displays and speakers.
http://www.totaltele.com/view.aspx?ID=458777 Premium content, but perfectly visible when your browser identifies itself as MSNBot 😉 or use google cache:
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.totaltele.com%2Fview.aspx%3FID%3D458777
Here you go: :p

http://forums.sonos.com/showthread.php?p=111309


It wasn't my claim. Ben originally stated this:

http://forums.sonos.com/showthread.php?p=111287&highlight=chip#post111287

which is why I said "apparently". I was just repeating it.

Interesting info though.

Cheers,

Keith
Userlevel 2
I'd rather come home, hit the little AirPlay button and have it stream to my home and put the phone in my pocket -- where I can easily answer a phone call or use it to anything else I want. Having it on my table does me no good, even with the new Sonos dock!

Exactly. I do think the majority of current and future customers are going to want this, as you and I do.

Did you see my message ( click here ) as to how you can do this with sonos now, (or as soon as apple releases iOS 4.2?) It is an extra cost option, that will turn some people off, but at least it will be doable.

Pete
click here ) as to how you can do this with sonos now, (or as soon as apple releases iOS 4.2?) It is an extra cost option, that will turn some people off, but at least it will be doable.
I have come to the conclusion (as RO53BEN) that Airplay is highly likely to require hardware. Therefore, it will probably not come as a software upgrade. If Sonos wants it, most sensible would be to build the chip into the dock. However, since BridgeCo sells highly integrated chips it is probably expensive, and moreover, BridgeCo probably doesn't want a single chip acting as a bridge to multiple components, I therefore think it is unlikely that Sonos will go there. The best option will be the Airport Express, which will functionally be pretty much equivalent thanks to Sonos' line-in distribution.

BTW: I wouldn't mind for Sonos to prove me wrong, apparently Apple IS able to update its older devices without any new hardware. I am afraid though, that that capability is probably locked by patents or encryption. Thus far there is only one company that seems to be able to access Airplay besides Apple. It would be interesting to see whether the Airplay-enabled devices will also get capabilities which are offered in BridgeCo's chipsets, but compete with iTunes, like Rhapsody or Pandora. Apple wouldn't be Apple if they hadn't put some serious caveats into such a cooperation with an outside firm.
Userlevel 5
Badge +8
Apple wouldn't be Apple if they hadn't put some serious caveats into such a cooperation with an outside firm.


But since Sonos are SERIOUSLY in bed with Apple these days (see all that free advertising they're getting), not entirely unlikely...
Userlevel 2
Apples talent isn't in invention rather in re-invention. They take an idea and make it better.

User experience is key to Apple philosophy. Form over factor.

As an owner of both Apple and Sonos product i see parallels between the two. Both produce premium products, elegant and easy to use.

Once AirPlay is up and running there's going to be a lot of speaker manufacturers with AirPlay support. I'm not going to go out and buy another speaker just because Sonos doesn't support AirPlay (well unless its BOSE) but i too would love to see Sonos support it.

It won't do any damage to the brand, in fact because i see parallels between the two companies, it's a partnership made in heaven and will sell more Sonos in the end.

Alternatively, if Sonos don't add AirPlay support, Apple will have their music streaming service in place by the end of 2011, so i'm sure we'll see Sonos supporting that.
Userlevel 2
I'd also like to see Airplay support on my sonos S5. Here's hoping they are willing and able and can do it with the same hardware.
Userlevel 2
Badge
Even though I am for Airplay, its just because I want the SONOS community to grow.

On the other side with my Android and Twonky I can already do that, what Apple has reinvented... I really did like Apple up to that point when they started to shut homebrewed stuff out. I.e. Rockbox. An Ipod paired with Rockbox was the best portable music player I ever owned...
Userlevel 5
Badge +8
http://www.reghardware.com/2010/10/18/wtf_is_dlna/

DLNA, explained nicely!