They were talking specifically about the Atmos speakers for the ceiling. No issues with the surrounds being bi/di/quad-pole.
I am REALLY hoping to get to do the A/B/C demo at Dolby's booth this year. They are going to play a 7.1 soundtrack, then do 7.1.4 with "Dolby Atmos Ready" speakers (the ones that fire up at the ceiling), and then a 7.1.4 with a regular 7.1 setup and the final .4 being ceiling mounted speakers. The listening room is supposed to have 3 rows of seats, so we will see what happens.
There are many Atmos sound demos going on, and another one that I am looking forward to is a 9.1.4 setup where it is the traditional 7.1, plus 2 front wide speakers, and then the 4 in-ceiling speakers.
But again, the idea is that any additional speakers can still get you to the "Atmos Nirvana" by adding on to an existing 5.1 or 7.1 setup. Heck, anything above 5.1 can actually go through the Atmos upscaler process and playback "object based" Atmos sound, even without ceiling speakers (yup, a traditional 7.1 can playback an Atmos track with improved imaging), but the ceiling speakers are where the "magic" happens, as they put it.