Sonos is bringing AirPlay 2 support to its modern speakers today through a new software update. AirPlay 2 will work on the new Sonos Beam, Sonos One, Playbase, and second-generation Play:5 speakers, but if you have older speakers then you can group them with one of the compatible speakers to make AirPlay 2 work with them. AirPlay 2 is designed to allow iOS users to select the speakers they want to play music through thanks to its new multi-room audio support.
Siri is also more closely integrated into AirPlay 2 on an iPhone, so you can ask the digital assistant to play music on specific speakers. As modern Sonos speakers support Alexa, you’ll also be able to control the playback of AirPlay 2 music on Sonos speakers. Once the music is playing via AirPlay 2, you can ask Alexa to pause, go to the next track, or ask what’s currently playing.
While we’ve known for months that AirPlay 2 would only be available on newer Sonos speakers, the company recently warned that a lack of software updates could become the norm for older devices. Sonos typically updates its older speakers with the latest software features, as customers invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars in its multi-room audio support. “We expect that in the near to intermediate term, this backward compatibility will no longer be practical or cost-effective, and we may decrease or discontinue service for our older products,” says Sonos in a recent SEC filing.
Sonos has sold more than 19 million devices, at an average of nearly 3 speakers per customer, and the company recently filed to go public. Originally founded in 2002, Sonos has dominated the high-end market of multi-room audio, but competitors have been catching up rapidly in recent years. Apple and Google both offer speakers that support multi-home audio, and a number of speaker manufacturers are tapping into AirPlay 2 and Google Cast to offer speakers that intelligently pair together.