AirPlay 2 makes Sonos the best audio option for most iPhone owners


Of course, Google Assistant support has been promised since we first heard about the Sonos One a year ago, and it's as yet unclear if Amazon would act on the above if Sonos starts cosying up with its competitors in the voice-controlled speaker arena. The update allows users to stream audio to the company's Sonos One, Beam, Playbase, and the second generation Play:5 speakers from iOS apps that support AirPlay 2 and from iTunes on a Mac.

With Sonos being the first company to offer AirPlay 2 on third-party speakers, its Sonos One at $199 in particular offers a compelling alternative to Apple's $349 HomePod. To be clear, Siri is not actually integrated in Sonos products but by asking Siri on an iPhone or iPad to “Play Drake in the living room” you can direct your music to speakers grouped into ‘living room from Apples Home app.

If you have at least one AirPlay 2 supported Sonos speaker, but the rest are not, you can group your speakers around the house for serious surround sound. Once updated, you can group older Sonos speakers with AirPlay 2 compatible ones. The protocol is also supported on Apple TV4 / 4K, which allows you to wirelessly output TV audio to multiple speakers at home.

It goes on to say that Amazon could introduce a charge for the voice service that would affect Sonos' profits from the One and Beam products, meaning the ball is very much in Amazon's court... something Sonos very bravely admits publicly; "Amazon could begin charging us for this integration which would harm our operating results".

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Switch between voice assistants—Or any other way to control Sonos. AirPlay also lets you unlock sound from a whole selection of content apps and services.

To check everything's working, open the Sonos app on your phone, press the "More" tab at the bottom-right, and scroll down and tap on the "About Your Sonos System" option. Show your friend that hilarious YouTube video on your iPhone and make sure he catches the punchline when you send the sound to your new Sonos Beam. That's also how you later change which speakers are being streamed to: AirPlay 2 only sees the four Sonos models with native support, not any older models. Whilst the company has successfully carved a path to being a consumer favourite that also has won the hearts of some custom project owners, there's an aspect of Sonos' work with Alexa voice control that seems fairly fragile.

Once you've started with Siri, you can then switch to Amazon's Alexa, if you want, and give her a command - to, say, skip to the next song. But you dont have to stick with one method or the other; you can control Sonos on your terms.