Sonos Rivals HomePod With New Assistant Speaker, Adding AirPlay 2 Support to Speakers Next Year

Sonos today introduced the Sonos One, an all-new smart speaker with six far-field microphones that allow it to work with digital assistants.


Sonos One can be controlled entirely with voice. At launch, it will support Amazon Alexa in the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom, including full voice support for Prime Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, SiriusXM, and TuneIn. Alexa voice control for Spotify will be coming soon after launch.

Google Assistant support will be added in 2018, making the Sonos One the first smart speaker with support for multiple major assistants.

Sonos One can play music from more than 80 streaming services, including popular ones like Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play Music, Tidal, and Pandora. In addition, it supports other traditional Alexa capabilities related to the weather, timers, news and traffic reports, the latest sports scores, and more.


Sonos is releasing a free software update today that will enable many of its existing speakers to be controlled with Alexa as well. In the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom, Sonos owners can use any Alexa-enabled device like the Echo or Echo Dot to control the speaker with voice commands.

Sonos also announced that it will begin supporting Apple's AirPlay 2 in 2018, making it possible to play any sound from an iOS device on Sonos speakers. Apple users will also be able to control music on Sonos speakers with any Siri-enabled device, such as an iPhone, iPad, and the HomePod once it launches.

Sonos One comes in black or white, weighs four pounds, and has an illuminated LED indicator light to ensure you are always aware when the speaker's microphone is active. The speaker connects to a home's Wi-Fi network, and it also has one 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port for those who prefer a wired connection.

The speaker features premium audio quality, with two Class-D digital amplifiers tuned to match the speaker drivers and acoustic architecture, one tweeter, one mid-woofer, adjustable bass and treble controls, and a six far-field microphone array used for advanced beamforming and echo cancellation.

Sonos One will be available starting Tuesday, October 24 for $199 in the United States. Pre-orders start today.

Tags: AirPlay, Sonos

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Alexa and Apple AirPlay 2 Support Coming to Libratone Zipp Wireless Speakers This Fall

Bluetooth speaker maker Libratone has announced that beginning this fall, Zipp and Zipp Mini speaker owners will be able to use their devices to invoke Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant as well as tap in to Apple's forthcoming AirPlay 2 protocol.

The company said it will make a free firmware download available in the coming months that activates Alexa support in the wireless speakers, which connect to Wi-Fi and have integrated microphones.


Following the update, Zipp and Zipp Mini owners will be able to touch the button on the top of the speakers to ask Alexa for news, sports, traffic updates, and all the other things that can be done on Amazon's Echo range of speakers, including controlling smart home devices.

Libratone intends to add Apple AirPlay 2 support as soon as Apple releases the new protocol, which will enable users to stream music wirelessly to multiple speakers of different brands on the same Wi-Fi network. AirPlay 2 is expected to arrive with the release of iOS 11 next month.


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Apple’s Siri-Based Smart Speaker Has ‘Over 50% Chance’ of Debuting at WWDC in June

Apple's widely rumored Siri-based smart speaker and home hub has an "over 50 percent chance" of being announced at WWDC, scheduled for June 5-9, according to often-reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities.

The device is rumored to have a "Mac Pro-like" concave design (Image: iFunnyVlogger)

Kuo said Apple's smart home product will likely launch in the second half of 2017 and cost more than the Amazon Echo, $179. The device will supposedly support AirPlay with "excellent acoustics performance" from one woofer and seven tweeters. Kuo said its performance will be similar to the iPhone 6/6s.

An excerpt from Kuo's research note obtained by MacRumors:
We believe there is an over 50% chance that Apple will announce its first home AI product at WWDC in June and start selling in the ]second half of 2017] in order to compete with the new Amazon Echo models to be launched […]

We expect Apple’s first home AI product will have excellent acoustics performance (one woofer + seven tweeters) and computing power (similar to iPhone 6/6S AP). Therefore the product is likely to be positioned for: (i) the high-end market; (ii) better entertainment experience; and (iii) higher price than Amazon Echo.
Last week, leaker Sonny Dickson likewise said Apple's smart speaker could be announced as early as WWDC. He said the device will run a variation of iOS with unspecified Beats technology, in addition to a Mac Pro-like concave top with built-in controls and speaker meshing covering the majority of its surface.

Apple's plans for a smart home device and Amazon Echo competitor were first revealed by The Information in May 2016, and Bloomberg reported that the device had entered prototype testing in September.

The latter report said Apple's smart home device would be able to control appliances, locks, lights, and curtains through Siri voice commands. It added that some of the prototypes in testing have facial recognition sensors, in line with a CNET report claiming the device could have a built-in camera.

Kuo said Taiwan-based Inventec will be the exclusive speaker supplier, including both the woofer and tweeters.


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Apple’s Echo-Like Smart Speaker With Siri and AirPlay Could Debut as Early as WWDC

Apple is widely rumored to be working on a Siri-based smart home device with a speaker, and Australian leaker Sonny Dickson has shared new details about its possible design and features on Twitter and with MacRumors.

Apple's smart speaker could take design cues from the Google Home

Dickson said that Apple is currently "finalizing designs" for the Amazon Echo and Google Home competitor, which he expects to be marketed as a Siri and AirPlay device. "It is believed to carry some form of Beats technology," he added, while noting that the device will run a variant of iOS software.

Dickson later told MacRumors that the device, allegedly codenamed B238 internally, will feature a Mac Pro-like concave top with built-in controls. His source, which he told us is "someone inside Apple," described the device as "fat" like the Google Home with speaker mesh covering the majority of the device.

Dickson was told Apple's smart speaker could be unveiled at WWDC 2017 in early June, but as always, the company's plans could change.

In September 2016, Bloomberg reported that Apple's smart home device had entered prototype testing, including both a larger and a smaller model in line with Amazon's current Echo lineup. However, at the time, the report cautioned that Apple's early efforts do not guarantee that a finalized product will be released.

The report said Apple's smart home device would be able to control appliances, locks, lights, and curtains through Siri voice commands. It added that some of the prototypes in testing include facial recognition sensors, backed by an earlier CNET report claiming the device could have a built-in camera for facial recognition.

Dickson is best known for leaking various iPhone and iPad parts from overseas sources, such as these iPhone 5c rear casings in 2013, but his latest information supposedly comes from a source directly within Apple, an area where his track record is less established. His sources have proven incorrect at times.


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