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Popular speaker company Sonos is planning to enter several new product markets that will see it competing with Apple devices, according to a new report from Bloomberg.

airpods-max-cyber.jpg

Upcoming over-ear headphones will take on the AirPods Max, which Apple has not yet updated. Sonos plans to offer the headphones in black and white, and features will include voice control navigation and synchronization with Sonos speakers, soundbars, and subwoofers. Sonos plans to price its over-ear headphones at $400 to $500, which is in line with the AirPods Max as well as over-ear headphones from companies like Sony and Bose.

Bloomberg's report suggests that Sonos isn't aiming to introduce a more technical feature set than Apple provides, with the company instead focusing on customization and fine-tuning sound with a "Passport" app. Sonos has been working on the headphones for several years, and they are set to be available as early as April 2024. In the future, the company may also develop a set of earbuds that would be similar to the AirPods.

In late 2024 or 2025, Sonos will introduce a set-top streaming box akin to the Apple TV. The device will serve as a hub for Sonos audio equipment with support for Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, and it will offer apps and streaming services much like existing set-top boxes.

Sonos is developing an Android-based operating system for the set-top box, expected to be priced somewhere between $150 and $200. Talks are being conducted with cable companies about possible live television offerings, and Sonos may even create its own video service.

Sonos is developing new amplifiers and in-ceiling speakers for professional installers, a version of the Era 100 speakers for businesses, and a high-end TV sound bar that will be an update to the Arc. For consumers, Sonos is developing a new version of the Sub that will sync with the planned set-top box, along with an updated Roam speaker.

Earlier this month, Sonos CEO Patrick Spence confirmed that Sonos is planning to enter a new product category that will "complement" current Sonos devices and that will "delight customers and drive immediate revenue." Sonos expects to generate more than $100 million from new products in 2024.

Article Link: Sonos to Launch $400+ Headphones and Set-Top Box, Competing with Apple Devices
 

c84216

macrumors regular
Jul 15, 2006
174
618
This SCREAMS that Sonos is going to move toward walling off their ecosystem or walling certain features behind their own interoperation. In other words, I’d think twice about investing in Sonos equipment if I weren’t ready for that possibility.
 

HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G4
Competition is always good for consumers. Bring on some fresh ideas. Deliver some tangible improvements. We consumers simply win by MANY players competing for our dollars. Consolidate all down to only one player and we can only lose.

I own some Sonos speakers and they are generally GREAT. So hopefully a Sonos effort in these areas will deliver things that are similarly great.
 
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mac_hack_attack

macrumors member
Oct 20, 2021
31
42
Epic fail.

The number one factor that makes Apple headphones better is the custom hardware(transparency and device attachment and release) that Sonos has no chance of replicating inside 5ish years.

Setop boxes are money losers meant to sell services.

This is an act of desperation and will be a huge cash burn.
 

mac_hack_attack

macrumors member
Oct 20, 2021
31
42
Competition is always good for consumers. Bring on some fresh ideas. Deliver some tangible improvements. We consumers simply win by MANY players competing for our dollars. Consolidate all down to only one player and we can only lose.

I own some Sonos speakers and they are generally GREAT. So hopefully a Sonos effort in these areas will deliver things that are similarly great.
This is oversimplifying it. If Sonos burns all their cash on losing STB or headphone products they could die as a premium non-legacy home theater / speaker vendor. This would not result in more consumer choice in the long run.
 

mac_hack_attack

macrumors member
Oct 20, 2021
31
42
I think the ability for AirPods to magically connect and switch between Apple devices would keep me from exploring these
100%. Sonos has no chance at competing with Apple at the high end without custom hardware that takes years to develop, and being lost in the crowd at the middle or low end is a loser business case for Sonos.
 
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3xBoom

macrumors 6502
Apr 20, 2020
382
466
Sonos should start competing by dropping the price below $200. Only price can divert new and existing users from Apple. Otherwise, what's the point? It makes little sense to leave the warm hands of Apple's universe for no gain really...
 

HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G4
This is oversimplifying it. If Sonos burns all their cash on losing STB or headphone products they could die as a premium non-legacy home theater / speaker vendor. This would not result in more consumer choice in the long run.

I'll trust Sonos knows how to invest its money. They are a long-term speaker company opting to break into the headphone space... no great leap.

And they already make STB-like products in the form of Port and Amp for distributing an abundance of audio sources. So adding some video out too- while stepping a bit out of their traditional lane- is not a gigantic leap. They are also leaning on a core codebase already proven to be quite capable at serving up video and getting app support: Android extensions underpin most of the NOT-AppleTV options.

Conceptually, some SonosTV-type box will bring music distribution like that Port. If so and if the "up to $200" price proves out, this product may be a much cheaper version of Port that offers the bonus of video and maybe gaming apps too. IMO: Bring it on!
 

HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G4
Sonos should start competing by dropping the price below $200. Only price can divert new and existing users from Apple. Otherwise, what's the point? It makes little sense to leave the warm hands of Apple's universe for no gain really...

Sonos is far more open than Apple's walled garden. When considering "smart speakers" I paid up for Sonos Move vs. HPs because Sonos works with everything and has the flexibility of AUX in. I would expect a SonosTV-box to be similarly "OPEN" but working just as well as Sonos products with Apple Music, Airplay 2, HomeKit (and thus control via Siri in existing Apple products).

I'm generally an Apple everything guy, but I don't care about "warm hands": what I want is great customer utility & value. In many Apple products, I find enough of that to buy Apple. However, if someone else offers more of it, I'm not going to trade off utility & value for too much brand loyalty. Maybe some tangible competition will inspire Apple Inc to step up the utility & value of select Apple products? If not, it's good to have other choices that still work well with Apple features & services.
 
Last edited:

mac_hack_attack

macrumors member
Oct 20, 2021
31
42
This SCREAMS that Sonos is going to move toward walling off their ecosystem or walling certain features behind their own interoperation. In other words, I’d think twice about investing in Sonos equipment if I weren’t ready for that possibility.
100%

As the Apple TV ecosystem(and to a lesser degree Android STB) has evolved, Sonos finds themselves more and more as an accessory to them. One that could, more easily every year, be replaced by one or two key products from Apple where 90% of the custom hardware overlaps with Apple headphones.

Sonos understandably thinks they need walls around their ecosystem as opposed a spot on the wall of Apple's ecosystem.

I don't like Sonos's chances in this fight.
 
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