Amazon expected to counter Apple's AirPlay 2 with Echo-based whole-home audio

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
In a potential shot at Apple's AirPlay 2 as well as speaker maker Sonos, Amazon is rumored to be preparing its own multi-speaker, multi-room music technology, which could come to existing Echo devices via a software update.




German blog Caschys reported this week that Amazon completed testing on the new feature, which is expected to launch soon for Alexa speakers.

The feature will reportedly allow users to stream to multiple rooms simultaneously, and also to group speakers together for both music listening and voice commands.

Apple has long offered AirPlay on its own devices, such as Apple TV and AirPort Express, as well as third-party speakers. It also offers multi-speaker support when music is streamed from a Mac.

But iPhones and iPads will also gain multi-room streaming this fall with the launch of iOS 11 and new AirPlay 2 speakers. Apple has also said that some existing AirPlay speakers can be updated to AirPlay 2 via firmware updates.




AirPlay 2 will also be a centerpiece for Apple's upcoming HomePod speaker, which will also boast multi-room and multi-speaker support. The $349 speaker and Siri listening device is set to launch this December.

Amazon, meanwhile, has been making inroads with its Echo devices, featuring the Alexa personal assistant. Most recently, the company launched the Echo Show, a model with a touchscreen display.

But while Amazon's Echo lineup is capable of playing music, the hardware has been pushed as a handy Alexa assistant first and foremost. Apple, meanwhile, has taken the opposite approach with HomePod, presenting it as a quality music speaker first and foremost.

Apple's approach could explain Amazon's push for multi-speaker, multi-room music support, countering one of the key selling points of the HomePod months before it finds its way into consumers' homes. In addition, Amazon is said to also be working on a new music-focused Echo with better speakers, which could more directly compete with Apple's HomePod.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    Yippee... I would be able to spread the terrible audio quality of the Echo throughout my home. Hold me back! /s
    king editor the gratepscooter63lolliver[Deleted User]watto_cobraGeorgeBMacjbdragon
  • Reply 2 of 25
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,276member
    Multi-room Audio is now a commodity feature. 

    Amazon would need good 3rd party developer support.  Things haven't 
    been going so well with Echo integration into current systems like Sonos, Heos and Soundtouch
  • Reply 3 of 25
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    I think they're starting to panic... Man, it's going to be a big profit gulp for Apple when the Homepod comes along.
    hmurchisonlordjohnwhorfinpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 25
    zroger73zroger73 Posts: 722member
    I'd love for Amazon to add "whole home audio" to my Echo devices.

    I'd love even more for Amazon to fix the Echo Spatial Perception that seems to have broken recently. It's been disorienting lately when I speak to Alexa and have three of her respond to my request from three different rooms at slightly different times. :(
  • Reply 5 of 25
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,256member
    sog35 said:
    Why even bother.

    Echo's speakers are so crappy in sound quality, i'm better off just using the speaker on my phone
    It would be impossible for Amazon to use bigger and better speakers in a product¡
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 25
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,256member
    sog35 said:
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    Why even bother.

    Echo's speakers are so crappy in sound quality, i'm better off just using the speaker on my phone
    It would be impossible for Amazon to use bigger and better speakers in a product¡
    not impossible. but then it means you have to replace 4 echo speakers around the home. What a pain
    No it doesn't, and your "concern" for Echo owners isn't the same as your original statement where you implied that it's not possible for Amazon to add better speakers to their home-based digital personal assistant because Apple's solution will have a better built-in speaker system.
  • Reply 7 of 25
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,537member
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    Why even bother.

    Echo's speakers are so crappy in sound quality, i'm better off just using the speaker on my phone
    It would be impossible for Amazon to use bigger and better speakers in a product¡
    not impossible. but then it means you have to replace 4 echo speakers around the home. What a pain
    No it doesn't, and your "concern" for Echo owners isn't the same as your original statement where you implied that it's not possible for Amazon to add better speakers to their home-based digital personal assistant because Apple's solution will have a better built-in speaker system.
    Wait -- how are you suggesting Amazon can introduce better speakers without requiring one to replace all their existing Echoes (the ones with the, you know, crummy speakers)?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 25
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    Why even bother.

    Echo's speakers are so crappy in sound quality, i'm better off just using the speaker on my phone
    It would be impossible for Amazon to use bigger and better speakers in a product¡
    not impossible. but then it means you have to replace 4 echo speakers around the home. What a pain
    No it doesn't, and your "concern" for Echo owners isn't the same as your original statement where you implied that it's not possible for Amazon to add better speakers to their home-based digital personal assistant because Apple's solution will have a better built-in speaker system.
    Wait -- how are you suggesting Amazon can introduce better speakers without requiring one to replace all their existing Echoes (the ones with the, you know, crummy speakers)?
    I think Soli's statement just means that current Echo owners will not "have" to replace their current Echos, which would be correct.  The old Echos will still work just like they did when new but the updated Echos will be better.
  • Reply 9 of 25
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,256member
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    Why even bother.

    Echo's speakers are so crappy in sound quality, i'm better off just using the speaker on my phone
    It would be impossible for Amazon to use bigger and better speakers in a product¡
    not impossible. but then it means you have to replace 4 echo speakers around the home. What a pain
    No it doesn't, and your "concern" for Echo owners isn't the same as your original statement where you implied that it's not possible for Amazon to add better speakers to their home-based digital personal assistant because Apple's solution will have a better built-in speaker system.
    Wait -- how are you suggesting Amazon can introduce better speakers without requiring one to replace all their existing Echoes (the ones with the, you know, crummy speakers)?
    How are you suggesting that you can't create a new model that has speakers for your living room A/V without getting rid of al other products? Did Amazon get rid of the Echo because they introduced an Echo Dot? Did Apple get rid of the iPhone because they introduced the HomePod (which people like you said was all you need to have Siri in the home)?

    PS: As it's been detailed many times before, you don't even need to get rid of your Echo devices to have amazing sound in your living room that will easily best what Apple will offer with their HomePod out of the box.
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 10 of 25
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Soli said:
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    Why even bother.

    Echo's speakers are so crappy in sound quality, i'm better off just using the speaker on my phone
    It would be impossible for Amazon to use bigger and better speakers in a product¡
    not impossible. but then it means you have to replace 4 echo speakers around the home. What a pain
    No it doesn't, and your "concern" for Echo owners isn't the same as your original statement where you implied that it's not possible for Amazon to add better speakers to their home-based digital personal assistant because Apple's solution will have a better built-in speaker system.
    Wait -- how are you suggesting Amazon can introduce better speakers without requiring one to replace all their existing Echoes (the ones with the, you know, crummy speakers)?
    How are you suggesting that you can't create a new model that has speakers for your living room A/V without getting rid of al other products? Did Amazon get rid of the Echo because they introduced an Echo Dot? Did Apple get rid of the iPhone because they introduced the HomePod (which people like you said was all you need to have Siri in the home)?

    PS: As it's been detailed many times before, you don't even need to get rid of your Echo devices to have amazing sound in your living room that will easily best what Apple will offer with their HomePod out of the box.
    Considering how crappy the room acoustic is and how badly configured and placed the systems are not to mention not responsive to user location or music played, those are bold claims considering what apple claims it can do and the fact you haven't heard it in action but others have.

    Thats the problem none of those expensive system that sound like crap do... ir Amazon is claiming to be doing even in the future.

     
  • Reply 11 of 25
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,256member
    foggyhill said:
    Soli said:
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    Why even bother.

    Echo's speakers are so crappy in sound quality, i'm better off just using the speaker on my phone
    It would be impossible for Amazon to use bigger and better speakers in a product¡
    not impossible. but then it means you have to replace 4 echo speakers around the home. What a pain
    No it doesn't, and your "concern" for Echo owners isn't the same as your original statement where you implied that it's not possible for Amazon to add better speakers to their home-based digital personal assistant because Apple's solution will have a better built-in speaker system.
    Wait -- how are you suggesting Amazon can introduce better speakers without requiring one to replace all their existing Echoes (the ones with the, you know, crummy speakers)?
    How are you suggesting that you can't create a new model that has speakers for your living room A/V without getting rid of al other products? Did Amazon get rid of the Echo because they introduced an Echo Dot? Did Apple get rid of the iPhone because they introduced the HomePod (which people like you said was all you need to have Siri in the home)?

    PS: As it's been detailed many times before, you don't even need to get rid of your Echo devices to have amazing sound in your living room that will easily best what Apple will offer with their HomePod out of the box.
    Considering how crappy the room acoustic is and how badly configured and placed the systems are not to mention not responsive to user location or music played, those are bold claims considering what apple claims it can do and the fact you haven't heard it in action but others have.

    Thats the problem none of those expensive system that sound like crap do... ir Amazon is claiming to be doing even in the future.

     
    That's all irreverent. If I swap an Echo Dot for an Echo in the exact same place in the exact same room the Echo Dot will sound worse. The HW is the fucking HW.
  • Reply 12 of 25
    larryalarrya Posts: 551member
    Sonos is starting to look doomed, and I don't say so with any sense of glee (I have $1200 invested in them).  Year after year goes by with no BT, no Airplay.  I don't know if Apple will stream all the same services, or if they will freeze everyone else out to promote Apple Music. If they do the former, I no longer see an argument for Sonos, assuming the quality of this new speaker is as good as people claim.
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 13 of 25
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,066member
    I am going to replace my Sonos with Homepod when it comes out end of this year, there is no question about it. As for Amazon expectation to counter Apple's Airplay, it's been long in the tooth, but great news for those who plan to buy more Amazon speakers. And then there is also spatial awareness tech, which is another selling points from Homepod, and which I don't see Amazon going to compete anytime soon.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 25
    If they update my Echo Dot's via a software update, I would give it a shot.  Most of my Dot's have Anker speakers attached to them. Just another option in addition to the AirPlay setup I also use.
    Soli
  • Reply 15 of 25
    If you have a look at the middle of this site https://play-fi.com/ it seems Amazon may use third-party tech for multi-room audio.
  • Reply 16 of 25
    glynhglynh Posts: 132member
    Soli said:

    That's all irreverent. If I swap an Echo Dot for an Echo in the exact same place in the exact same room the Echo Dot will sound worse. The HW is the fucking HW.
    Not if you connect a half-decent external speaker to the Echo Dot by BT or 3.5mm jack it won't! :)
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 17 of 25
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,367member
    As we are on the subject of audio, and as someone who is suffering from ever deteriorating hearing I'd really like to know if Apple has given any thought to adding enhanced graphic equalization that can be personalized that would then overlay the automated room acoustics correction system they have and work with it.  Of course it would be nice if it were Siri controlled too.  

    I should add I have long hoped Apple would get into the hearing aid market with their skills, I know they worked with some high end manufacturers but nothing seems to have come of it.  Noise cancellation and ambient on the fly corrections and an AI system that learns and adapts to your needs.  The market always follows the baby boomers, hearing impaired technology is going to be a large and growing market.

    Again, on the same subject, subtitling is an area where wearables and AR would be nice.  Everyone else has to suffer the annoying subtitles just because I can't hear speech well on TV these days due to the background music mostly.  
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 18 of 25
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,168member
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    Why even bother.

    Echo's speakers are so crappy in sound quality, i'm better off just using the speaker on my phone
    It would be impossible for Amazon to use bigger and better speakers in a product¡
    not impossible. but then it means you have to replace 4 echo speakers around the home. What a pain
    No it doesn't, and your "concern" for Echo owners isn't the same as your original statement where you implied that it's not possible for Amazon to add better speakers to their home-based digital personal assistant because Apple's solution will have a better built-in speaker system.
    Wait -- how are you suggesting Amazon can introduce better speakers without requiring one to replace all their existing Echoes (the ones with the, you know, crummy speakers)?
    I have to say that something like the Echo Dot's, you can plug in and use any speaker you want. Also, if you looking for something like the Echo for cheap, don't need a fancy, great sounding, and expensive Homepod, a $50 Echo Dot can't be beat, I guess. I don't own any. I think it's to old school compared to my Apple Watch which works everywhere. I don't want my house littered with Echo's. I think Amazon is up to 6 different Echo's right now?!?! I really don't see it as much of a problem to release a higher end version with quality speakers. I have heard though that the Echo Show speakers sound quite good. That's the one with the screen. I have no need for a Echo. I really have no need for a HomePod either.
  • Reply 19 of 25
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,288member
    Amazon, the Monoprice of fine electronics. Jeff Bezos, this generation's Sam Walton. 
    hmurchison
  • Reply 20 of 25
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Soli said:
    foggyhill said:
    Soli said:
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    Why even bother.

    Echo's speakers are so crappy in sound quality, i'm better off just using the speaker on my phone
    It would be impossible for Amazon to use bigger and better speakers in a product¡
    not impossible. but then it means you have to replace 4 echo speakers around the home. What a pain
    No it doesn't, and your "concern" for Echo owners isn't the same as your original statement where you implied that it's not possible for Amazon to add better speakers to their home-based digital personal assistant because Apple's solution will have a better built-in speaker system.
    Wait -- how are you suggesting Amazon can introduce better speakers without requiring one to replace all their existing Echoes (the ones with the, you know, crummy speakers)?
    How are you suggesting that you can't create a new model that has speakers for your living room A/V without getting rid of al other products? Did Amazon get rid of the Echo because they introduced an Echo Dot? Did Apple get rid of the iPhone because they introduced the HomePod (which people like you said was all you need to have Siri in the home)?

    PS: As it's been detailed many times before, you don't even need to get rid of your Echo devices to have amazing sound in your living room that will easily best what Apple will offer with their HomePod out of the box.
    Considering how crappy the room acoustic is and how badly configured and placed the systems are not to mention not responsive to user location or music played, those are bold claims considering what apple claims it can do and the fact you haven't heard it in action but others have.

    Thats the problem none of those expensive system that sound like crap do... ir Amazon is claiming to be doing even in the future.

     
    That's all irreverent. If I swap an Echo Dot for an Echo in the exact same place in the exact same room the Echo Dot will sound worse. The HW is the fucking HW.
    Frack, do you actually read what I write and comment on it, because that's not what you did. Declaring something irrelevant doesn't make it so.
    Doing that doesn't fix the shit audio that 90% of expensive audio system actually deliver because of environmental or setup factors.
    If you actually are an audio engineer and configured your equipment and room and placement purposefully and listen to audio always in the same spot, it would be irrelevant; otherwise it is not.
    Also, if your comparing a $1000K+ stereo to the Homepod it may be irrelevant in many cases (cause the baseline of audio outside environmental and setup impact is higher), but also mostly a non sequitur to a $350 product you can drop anywhere.

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