I have used Airplay as a poor man’s Sonos for 4 or 5 years in my home. It works great… as long as you don’t get lots of interference from other base stations and wireless networks (we ended up hardwiring the whole house to avoid sound dropouts). Airplay has a lot more bandwidth than Bluetooth which means (potentially) better sound (depending on the quality of the source of course and keeping in mind that theAirplay standard does do some transcoding). But Airplay has two problems which I think are holding it back:
1. No ad hoc streaming. This means if you don’t have a wireless network, you won’t be streaming to your device. This hurts the standard’s viability in the portable and auto markets.
2. Unless you stream from an actual computer (which can do multiple airplay zones at once) you are limited streaming to one airplay device at a time. This makes streaming from your iPhone or iPad less flexible than streaming from a laptop or desktop… which seems a little bit old fashioned at this point. There is a decent Apple Remote app to control streaming from iTunes but most people would likely rather just stream directly from the app of choice on their phone.
The Libratone Zipp seems like a cool idea for someone looking for portable rechargeable audio with better than average sound to take on an excursion. The hack they used to get around not having a real wifi network sound like it might continue to be a problem as Apple updates iOS.
If I simply wanted to get music to more areas of my house, I’d rather just buy another set of speakers and connect them to a traditional amp. The bang for you buck is much higher that way. All of these Bluetooth/wireless streaming all in one rechargeable speakers are essentially glorified table radios.