Fresh off the release of its well-received table lamp and bookshelf speakers that were created in collaboration with Ikea, Sonos is turning its attention back to the company’s own product lineup. Today, Sonos invited media to a briefing scheduled for late August that will focus on its plans for the fall. These showcases almost always feature new hardware, but what might Sonos have in store?
In terms of existing devices, I think the Play:5 is the most likely candidate to be upgraded. The second-gen Play:5 launched in 2015 — so it’s certainly due for a revision — and Sonos could easily add a voice mic array to its most premium and best-sounding speaker in the same way it did with the Sonos One. The company would include other enhancements to audio performance in a potential Sonos Five since it has previously said that it doesn’t upgrade products unless there’s plenty of reason to do so.
With Amazon said to be at work on a high-end Echo speaker, the timing would fit if Sonos wants to head off its competitors. Even cable companies are building pricey Alexa speakers now.
A revived Play:3 could be another possibility, but I’m not sure how interested Sonos is in filling that middle zone between the Sonos One and Play:5 or if it’s even a category worth pursuing. The Play:3, introduced back in 2011, was quietly discontinued last year.
As for the company’s other speakers, it’s a toss-up. Sonos already has the Beam, Playbar, and Playbase covering the living room. Only the Beam has built-in voice assistant support, so Sonos might choose to revamp its other, more expensive TV speakers with mics as well.
All it takes to control Sonos speakers with your voice is an Amazon Echo Dot or Google Home Mini, but building the mics into the hardware removes that extra point of friction.
Maybe we’ll see something altogether new and unexpected. In January, Bloomberg reported that Sonos has been developing its own pair of headphones. That would mark an entirely new product category for the company. Going high-end makes sense: with its Ikea effort covering the low end (the bookshelf speaker is only $99), I doubt Sonos will introduce anything to take attention away from those speakers. But a long-running request has been an outdoor, truly water-resistant option in the Sonos lineup. Hey, the person in the invite is looking outside!
Given all of these possibilities, what would you want to see?