Engadget: For months we’ve been wondering aloud how Sonos would respond to Apple’s September AirPlay announcement. After all, Apple’s promise to “stream music throughout your entire house” steps all over Sonos’ reason to exist. Would Sonos start building its systems with BridgeCo chips? As it turns out: no. Instead, Sonos is opting for a rather ingenious solution, at a cost of $99. Rather than licensing BridgeCo technology at additional expense atop Sonos’ already costly components, the company has instead devised an approach that links Apple’s own AirPlay-compliant AirPort Express into Sonos’ proprietary wireless mesh network. The solution (illustrated after the break) works by first shutting off the WiFi on the AirPort Express base station and then stringing a cable between its audio-out and the line-in jack on any Sonos ZonePlayer, including the S5 all-in-one speaker. You then run an ethernet patch cable between the two and you’ve just enabled your iOS devices to play AirPlay audio to any (or all) Sonos device in the home from any compatible AirPlay app. Naturally, the Sonos solution does not integrate with AirPlay speakers like those from iHome, JBL, B&W, Klipsch, or Philips and the AirPlay audio won’t be synced with video; but it’s a start. The new functionality requires a software update to your system in the form of Sonos System Software version 3.4 — available now — which also adds iOS multitasking amongst a few other goodies.
Today also marks the official release of the free Sonos Controller for Android app in the Android Market making it a pretty good day to be a Sonos owner.