This marks the first time Sonos speakers have supported AirPlay in general, enabling users to easily stream audio from iTunes on Mac, and virtually any app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, including Apple Music, YouTube, Spotify, Hulu, Pandora, and Netflix, to compatible Sonos speakers over Wi-Fi.
AirPlay allows for Siri control of Apple Music or Podcasts playback on compatible Sonos speakers via iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, HomePod, and Apple TV. For example, one could say “Hey Siri, play Beats 1 Radio in the bedroom,” after the speaker is named and assigned to a room in Apple’s Home app on iOS.
AirPlay 2 in particular enables multi-room audio playback for Sonos speakers paired with other Sonos speakers, HomePod, or Apple TVs. Sonos speakers appear in the AirPlay Picker within apps and Control Center on iOS devices.
Sonos said its older speakers do not support AirPlay 2 on their own due to processor limitations, but in the Sonos app, they can be paired with any of the aforementioned speakers to enable support for Apple’s new protocol. An older Playbar paired with a Playbase, for example, works with AirPlay 2.
Sonos initially held out on adding AirPlay compatibility to its speakers in part due to minor latency issues addressed by AirPlay 2.
Apple first enabled AirPlay 2 in iOS 11.4, released in late May. Sonos is the first third-party speaker maker to support the protocol, to be followed by Beoplay, Bang & Olufsen, Denon, Libratone, Marantz, Naim, and others.
AirPlay 2 support is available through a free software update via the Sonos Controller companion app on the App Store.
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