Sonos oozes simplicity: all your music, all your services, all over your house, all from one place. But its app has always lagged behind, a cluttered blue list of services that made it needlessly hard to actually find what you were looking for. Today, Sonos aims to fix that: it's launching version 5.0 of its controller app, which attempts to finally make finding music to play as easy as it is to play across your house.
Available for Android today and iOS this spring (desktop controller updates are coming later), the app is designed around search: you can search for an artist, song, or album, and Sonos looks for it across all its many services. (Just in case you're a happy paid subscriber of Rdio, Spotify, Pandora, Rhapsody, Deezer, TuneIn, and iTunes all at once.) The interface is remarkably simpler, a tabbed white interface that looks like almost any other music player in either app store. It's not exciting, but it's a huge improvement.
A gigantic music library, finally easy to navigate
You can control multiple rooms at once, each playing different songs from different services or all completely in sync. There's some discovery built in, too, hopefully making it easier to find new music as well. The app of course supports the same huge list of services as always, and the same social and alarm features. The app's not an overhaul of what Sonos does, but rather how it does it.
2014 has already been a big year for Sonos: it ran a memorable, colorful Super Bowl ad, and hired Microsoft's Xbox chief Marc Whitten as its new chief of product. Even if version 5.0 of the controller app is the last thing the company has in store for this year (and it probably won't be), it's a pretty good note to end on.