Bowers & Wilkins has announced a new version of its iconic Zeppelin speaker, with an all-new speaker system derived from the company's high-end hi-fi gear, built-in Alexa voice control, AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect streaming, and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth. Plus, some cool lights.
The original B&W Zeppelin launched in 2007 as an iPod dock, though it arrived just in time to ride the wave of the original iPhone announcement. I had one, and it was a mind-blowing thing – hi-fi companies were barely dipping their toes into these kinds of products at the time, and Apple's own (massive) iPod Hi-Fi was the biggest alternative (until it was discontinued towards the end of 2007).
The Zeppelin offered such a huge audio upgrade over effectively every other iPod/iPhone dock speaker that when Apple switched from its 30-pin connector to Lightning in iPhones, I just bought an adapter for it and kept going with it for years.
B&W had previously updated the Zeppelin to go wireless when that tech arrived, but the design laid dormant over the last few years – until now, and I'm so excited to see it back in this new version.
It arrives into a much more competitive environment among the best wireless speakers, but given how the B&W PI7 managed to stand out in the even-more-crowded world of the best wireless earbuds, that's probably not an issue.
The Zeppelin will be pretty damn wide, but that's fine, because it's set up for stereo sound. You've got tweeters at each end of its American football shape that are decoupled from the rest of the structure (so they're not affected by vibrations), mid-range drivers using tech borrowed from B&W huge (and pricey) reference loudspeakers, and a dedicated subwoofer.
All told, there's 240W of amplification, so you'll get a big sound out of this, but knowing B&W it'll be a super-crisp one too.
It comes in black or grey finishes, and the little stand has dimmable ambient lighting you can have shine down on it. It's available now, for £699/$799/€799.