Santa Barbara, Calif. – Sonos added
Apple AirPlay compatibility to its wireless multiroom-audio system, enabling consumers
for the first time to stream music wirelessly from AirPlay-enabled iPads, iPod
touches and iPhones to Sonos systems.
AirPlay compatibility is one of
three new features enabled by a Sonos System 3.4 software upgrade available
today. A second feature, when used with a free Android smartphone app, turns an
Android smartphone into a Wi-Fi remote that controls a Sonos system. A third
new feature upgrades the capabilities of an existing Sonos remote-control app
for iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches.
With the new AirPlay feature, the
Sonos system becomes the audio industry’s first product to let consumers stream
a song from an AirPlay-equipped handheld device to multiple rooms at a time, said
Sonos VP and co-founder Tom Cullen. Up until now, he said, AirPlay-equipped
handhelds could stream audio to only one room at a time when used with other suppliers’
AirPlay-equipped home audio products.
AirPlay compatibility also makes it
possible for the first time for Sonos systems to use a handheld device as a
music source, Cullen said. Sonos systems continue to use networked PCs, network-attached
storage devices, Internet radio stations, and Internet music services as music sources.
With AirPlay compatibility, Sonos
systems not only stream music stored on an Apple handheld device, but they also
stream music from a variety of Internet radio apps loaded onto the Apple
devices, Cullen noted. The apps access online music and audio services not
available directly through the Sonos system, including Slacker and MLB.com, he said.
Although only one song at a time can
be streamed from a handheld Apple device through a Sonos system, the song can
be streamed to multiple rooms at a time, Cullen noted. While that song plays in
those rooms, however, multiple songs stored on a networked PC or NAS drive, or
streamed via the Internet, can play back simultaneously in other rooms, Cullen
To integrate AirPlay with a Sonos
system, consumers need the Sonos System 3.4 software upgrade and one Apple
AirPort Express Wi-Fi wireless access point, whose audio line output needs to be
connected to only one of the many Sonos wireless clients that could be set up throughout
the house. The clients include a one-piece tabletop client with built-in amp
and stereo speakers, an amplified client for use with any pair of passive
speakers, and a client that connects to any existing sound system. The system
can be controlled from a dedicated RF-wireless handheld controller or from
existing Sonos apps that turn iPod touches, iPhones and iPads into Wi-Fi
With the System 3.4 upgrade, Sonos
systems are also compatible with a free Android-based app that turns an Android
smartphone into a wireless Sonos-system controller. The app, compatible with
the Android 2.1 and up OS, offers two features that the iPhone and iPad apps
don’t. One is the ability to use the phone’s volume buttons to control
Sonos-system volume. The other feature is the ability to search for music
tracks, albums and artists via voice search.
Also with Sonos System 3.4, the
company’s iPhone/touch/iPad control apps become multitask-compatible, allowing
users to use other apps without closing the Sonos app.