Sonos is one of the best-known audio companies in the world, and it could be on the verge of launching a new wireless speaker.
An FCC filing (Federal Communications Commission) spotted by The Verge describes a device that uses a wireless charging base; but it requires less power than the company’s Move speaker, suggesting a similar portable smart speaker that’s more compact.
And it could be launching soon – Sonos CEO Patrick Spence divulged in a call with investors that the brand would be releasing a new product in March (although there is a chance that this new product could easily be the first Sonos headphones, too).
While details of the next Sonos speaker are thin on the ground, there are a few things we can glean from the FCC filing – as well as lots of features we’d love to see from the Sonos Move follow-up.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? A new Sonos wireless speaker.
- When will it be released? TBC, but possibly as soon as March 2021.
- How much will it cost? Probably less than the Sonos Move ($399 / £399 / AU$649).
New Sonos speaker release date
Sonos has yet to confirm the existence of a new wireless speaker, but the company’s CEO has revealed that a new product is coming in March.
That’s according to a conference call between Spence and investors. In the call, which was transcribed by Seeking Alpha, Spence said that the company remains committed to launching “at least two new products per year”, and that “we are excited to introduce our newest product next month”.
The FCC filing for a new Sonos speaker also suggests that a release date could be imminent. Details of the original Sonos Move leaked shortly after its FCC filing was discovered (model number S17), so the new ‘Move Mini’ (S27) may well follow a similar path.
Saying that, it’s possible that Sonos’ next product won’t be a speaker at all. Rumors of the first Sonos headphones have been circulating since 2019, picking up steam in recent months after Sonos was awarded a patent for a pair of over-ear headphones, giving us an intriguing glimpse at the long-rumored cans.
New Sonos speaker price
So far there have been no solid rumors or leaks pertaining to the price of the new Sonos speaker, but based on the specs described in the FCC filing, the device looks like it will be a smaller version of the Sonos Move – and that means it will probably be cheaper, too.
The Sonos Move currently costs $399 / £399 / AU$649 – a price that puts it firmly at the top end of the Bluetooth speaker market; but it earns this price tag with its array of Sonos smarts and powerful audio.
We’d expect a more compact version of the portable speaker to cost less than this, perhaps sitting around the $200 / £200 / AU$300 mark.
However, we’d love to see Sonos bring the price down even further. Sonos products are usually very expensive, and while that’s often justified as a result of their fantastic audio performance and multi-room capabilities, it means joining the company’s ecosystem is out of reach for many.
If Sonos could price its latest Bluetooth speaker at around $100 / £100 / AU$150, it could make owning a Sonos sound system far more accessible, with the ability to add as many or as few products as you wish – much like the Apple HomePod mini has made it cheaper to join Apple’s audio ecosystem.
New Sonos speaker features
All of the information we have about the new Sonos speaker comes from the FCC filing that was released recently.
Testing diagrams within the filing show that the speaker will be accompanied by a wireless charging dock, and will offer Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) connectivity. This suggests that the new speaker will double as a portable Bluetooth speaker, and a connected smart speaker, just like the Sonos Move – and it will be the first speaker to support Wi-Fi 5.
The filing also reveals that the new speaker will use less power than the Sonos Move, suggesting that it will be smaller. Another clue as to the look of the new Sonos speaker is the inclusion of a circular label that’s “laser etched around the perimeter of the bottom surface of the device”, which implies that the unit will be cylindrical, akin to the popular UE Megaboom 3.
Making a smaller version of the Sonos Move makes much sense. At close to 3kg, while it is possible to lift the current Move speaker with ease, you wouldn’t want to carry it around for too long. However, the size is a necessity due to the large driver magnets that power the sound, and it’s a fair trade to make for the audio quality delivered. You can expect a smaller version to include smaller drivers and, perhaps, a less powerful sound as a result.
Nevertheless, we’d expect to see Sonos’ chic design aesthetic transfer to a more compact Sonos Move, featuring simple control buttons, a wraparound grille, and perhaps a carry handle built into the speaker’s frame.
New Sonos speaker: what we want to see
While details of the new Sonos speaker are still hazy, we can still present a list of a a few features we’d love to see from the Sonos Move successor.
To start, we’d welcome an improvement to the water- and dust-resistance rating, particularly if the new speaker is to be more easily portable than its predecessor.
The original Sonos Move is IP56 rated, which means it can withstand a coating of sand or dust, as well as a drop into a swimming pool. Boosting this to an IP67 rating would make it a serious competitor for waterproof speakers such as the UE Wonderboom 2 and the JBL Flip 5.
We’d also love to see a new Sonos speaker that can be used as part of a home cinema system, particularly if it’s on the cheaper side. It isn’t possible to use two Sonos Move speakers as rear channels for you system, which Sonos claims is down to sync issues and the potential for a directional soundtrack to lose its focus if the speakers are placed incorrectly in a room.
This a shame, since having a wireless speaker that’s both portable and can be used to boost your TV’s audio is certainly compelling – and we’d have thought that Sonos’ Trueplay technology, which uses onboard accelerometers to detect movement, would be capable of addressing this.
Another feature that we’d welcome is an upgrade to Bluetooth 5, which would allow for pairing over longer distances and a more stable connection. The current Sonos Move only supports Bluetooth 4.2, which is slightly outdated now.
Finally, we’d love to see a few more color options for the new Sonos speaker. Releasing a mini portable speaker is a great opportunity for Sonos to play around with different color palettes and finishes – although, based on the company’s preference to date of a black and white aesthetic, we’re not sure that this is likely.