Sonos yesterday shared a on it's blog a post detailing their integration with the upcoming Airplay 2 standard from Apple.

If you have a Sonos speaker, amplifier (Sonos Connect:Amp) or pre-amp (Sonos Connect) you will be able to listen to music just by clicking on their phone or asking Siri to put it on.  But only if you have the newer Sonos speakers like Play:5, Playbase and Sonos One, and (future Sonos products). When you group one of these Airplay-enabled speakers with older Sonos devices, you can bring AirPlay capabilities to your entire Sonos system.

 Apples Airplay 2

Apples Airplay 2

Sonos state;

As a Sonos owner, you’ve grown accustomed to these devices improving over time through software. As the hardware in newer products has advanced, we’re extremely proud to have introduced new features and services–like Audible and Spotify direct-control– to our entire lineup of speakers. Many of you have Sonos gear that’s over a decade old and is still getting better every day.

But like with laptops and mobile phones, sophisticated new features sometimes require new hardware. For example, adding voice control to the Sonos system required us to build a microphone into Sonos One. Thanks to the way we’ve architected the system, adding just one Sonos device with voice capability means you can now control your whole Sonos system with your voice, including those older devices that didn’t have a microphone built in when we first released them years ago.

AirPlay 2 works in a similar way. The computing platforms and software architecture in some of the older Sonos players like Play:3 and Play:1 simply don’t have the horsepower to support AirPlay 2. The original Play:1, for example, has about 1/16th the processing power of its modern equivalent, the Sonos One. But by taking advantage of newer Sonos hardware, we’re able to make AirPlay 2 content available throughout the house on speakers old and new.
— Sonos Blog

Which all sounds great, except now the Sonos Platform is being broken into can-do and can't-do pieces, which is going to get confusing for many and frustrating for others.

 Apples Airplay 2

Apples Airplay 2

So in reality, only the newer speakers work properly with Apples Airplay2, the rest of your Sonos hardware can basically listen in - by being grouped with that zone, which is basically a bit of a cumbersome bodge if you ask me.  Of course they can listen to whats playing on another zone, thats the whole idea of the system - Except that now if you want to control the system through your Apple gear it's not going to work properly if you have older devices.

The Sonos Blog goes on to state;

This kind of innovation is unique in the technology industry. Can you imagine being able to buy a new phone that brings new functionality to your old phone? Not all Sonos speakers can support all the latest features, but through the magic of software, thoughtful system design, and a general disdain for forced obsolesce, we’ll do our best to make sure your investment in Sonos truly gets richer and more immersive over time.
— Sonos Blog
 Only 2 of the above components will work with Airplay2.

Only 2 of the above components will work with Airplay2.

Which in reality is a bit of a kick in the teeth to most owners who have a bit of (or any) technical knowledge.  Their new speakers aren't bringing functionality to the older ecosystem, they are sharing their music to a group.  Much the same as I can plug a CD Player into my Sonos ZP100 and share it to any other Sonos component by grouping them.  It's not new functionality, sharing whats playing on one component to another, its the premise of the whole system - except now it's going to be borked if you try to use it with AirPlay2.

 

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