Sonos speakers get smart with Amazon’s Alexa

The new Sonos One has Amazon Alexa built-in.

Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and David Pogue discuss the latest device.

I’m in love… Now they’ve built an Alexa into the Sonos. So I can ask Alexa, “What time is it in Paris?” And, more to the point, I can ask for any music I want. I can walk home, take off my jacket, throw my keys in the bowl, and say, “Play light jazz” or “Play cooking music.” It is exactly what you’r want and they’re not charging a penny more than the one that doesn’t have Alexa built in…

The Apple HomePod is the same idea, but is much bigger and much better sounding and much more expensive. That’ll be $350 and, by the way, delayed. It will not be out in time for Christmas. It’ll be out in 2018… so [the Sonos with Alexa] is half the price, Sonos has their act together… The Sonos understands both Amazon Echo commands an, shortly, when a software update comes, Google commands. So, this one device will understand both “Ok, Google” and “Alexa” [commands]… It’s platform agnostic. So, Apple’s thing with only work with Siri commands, Google’s thing will only work with Google commands, this will – well, it won’t work with Apple, but – it’ll work with everybody else. – David Pogue

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Direct link to video here.

MacDailyNews Take: We are watching — live in super slo-mo, right before our eyes — Apple squander an exceedingly important area where they had staked out a tremendous lead – voice-controlled personal assistants, home automation; basically, “the living room” — due to lack of focus, lack of vision, laziness, mismanagement, and/or ineptitude.

Apple led with Apple TV (released January 9, 2007) and Siri (acquired in April 2010), each by many years, and they’ve been flushing that lead down the crapper ever since, thanks to years of aimless, sloth-like dithering.

If you were to tell us that you’re tired of waiting for the world’s most valuable company with $260+ billion dollars on-hand to finally get their shit together and have decided to go with Roku and Sonos instead, we could hardly blame you.

The yawning gulf between visionary CEO and caretaker CEO is currently on impressive display.

Steve Jobs handed Tim Cook the keys to the personal assistant and content streaming kingdoms and Tim Cook promptly lost them. Hopefully, he can find them before it’s too late. Apple has a lot of catching up to do.

Why Apple’s HomePod is three years behind Amazon’s Echo – November 21, 2017
Under ‘operations genius’ Tim Cook, product delays and other problems are no longer unusual for Apple – November 20, 2017
Apple delays HomePod release to early 2018 – November 17, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook: The ‘operations genius’ who never has enough products to sell at launch – October 23, 2017
Ars Technica reviews Apple TV 4K: Vision less than fully realized – October 9, 2017
Apple reveals HomePod smart home music speaker – June 5, 2017
Apple’s desperate Mac Pro damage control message hints at a confused, divided company – April 6, 2017
Apple’s new TV app shows just how painfully behind Apple is – December 14, 2016
Apple is misplaying the hand Steve Jobs left them – November 30, 2016
Apple has no idea what they’re doing in the TV space, and it’s embarrassing – November 3, 2016
Apple delays AirPod rollout – October 26, 2016
Taking on the $179 Apple TV 4K, Roku unveils $99 Roku Ultra with 4K HDR capability – October 2, 2017
Apple delays release of watchOS 2 due to bug – September 16, 2015
Apple delays HomeKit launch until autumn – May 14, 2015
Apple delays production of 12.9-inch ‘iPad Pro’ in face of overwhelming iPhone 6/Plus demand – October 9, 2014
Tim Cook’s mea culpa: iMac launch should have been postponed – April 24, 2013


  1. I recently visited Steve Jobs’ resting place in Alta Mesa Memorial Park and, while walking among the apricot trees, I swear I heard the wind whisper:

    “Less time wasted on being a virtue-signalling SJW, Tim, and more time invested in making products that delight Apple’s customers.”

    1. and decent sound, with a decent assistant! Has Apple overbuilt the HomePod? With the advent of iPods, bluetooth speakers powered by phones, people that care about high fidelity sound is a relatively small sector of the pie. Besides missing another important part of a sales cycle (Apple dithers again), maybe the more material issue is the device’s lack of broad appeal? I think it’s a reasonable question unless there’s some feature/technology that sets it apart. I’m not talking about Siri rising to the competitor’s level.

  2. Jeez at this rate even Microsoft will get a speaker out first and probably in Zune brown. Who ever is behind Apples total balls up in this matter should be put out to grass and that’s being generous because Digitas came to mind.

    1. I don’t trust Amazon or Google, two companies that do better financially the more they gather up my data. All companies are gathering data to some extent but I look at the financial aspect. Amazon and Google profit too much from my data. Apple doesn’t need my data for profit. Trust no company is good advice, but Apple is the least worst here.

  3. If it supports both Alexa and Google Assistant in the same device AND sound great for half the price it sure piques my interest. Add Z-Wave support for home devices and I’m sure they’ll pull a lot of Echo customers dissatisfied with the Zigbee choice away from Amazon.

    1. Seems there is an update coming next year to support Siri on the new Sonos One too. This may eat away at some of the market for Home and Echo as well as a bit of the potential audience for HomePod. Especially by those that use multiple Assistants. I wouldn’t be surprised now if there was an updated planned to add Cortana next.

  4. I get that what I’m about to say may seem blasphemous but some of this is Steve’s own fault. For whatever reason he didn’t properly prepare someone who could step in and take his place doing what he did. Some might say that Scott Forrestal might have been that guy but he evidently didn’t have the wherewithal to survive and prosper at Apple. You might say that this is exactly what happens at a company when the founder departs. Despite not capitalizing on the watch when the iron was hot they have still manged to have it become a significant and profitable product. To the extent that Steve prepared a structure at Apple that can course correct for these kinds of missteps there’s hope that these speed bumps don’t turn into something more critical.

    1. And BTW complain and make noise. Apple talks like they don’t care or pay attention but you can bet that they do! They just don’t respond directly or in an obvious way.

  5. Dear Sonos. I didn’t buy this ‘feature’, don’t want it now and you’ll need to make me 100% comfortable that crap is turned off. And even my several-generations-old speakers come with microphones to calibrate to the room. This is like buying a car and later getting firmware that randomly applies the brakes or reclines your seat for you.

    1. You’ll be happy to know then that you can buy a wireless Sonos speaker that is identical in outside appearance for the same price ($199) w/o any support for voice assistants whatsoever. Sonos has indicated that they will continue to sell the assistant-less speaker alongside their new Sonos-One.

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