Bose and Beats can rest easy: Sonos is taking its streaming outdoors but not via headphones

It's a speaker for your garden instead, alongside wall and ceiling speakers from new sub-brand Sonance

Sonos' new outdoor and in-wall speakers

Tech is so much more fun when you're conjecturing about what might happen. Sonos is definitely launching an outdoor waterproof speaker, for your garden or patio: Sonos Outdoor by Sonance. 

That is fine (although we are not sure about the new brand name for Sonos' custom install speakers: Sonance, really?) But we had almost convinced ourselves Sonos was lining up a pair of headphones, which would have been a less obvious move and so much more exciting. 

Oh well. Maybe next time…

The outdoor speaker (the one on the right in the Sonance group render image above) is built to withstand humidity, water, 'salt spray' (?), extreme heat and cold, and ultra violet rays. As you would expect, really.

It's part of the Sonos Architectural by Sonance range, all of which are designed to work with the Sonos Amp ($599/£599), although that – like Sonance's speakers – is US-only at present. You can now pre-order Sonos Amp in the UK, however.

The Sonos Architectural by Sonance in-wall speaker

The Sonos Amp can supposedly power up to three pairs of speakers, although since it only has one pair of speaker outputs, we're not quite sure how. Even the outdoor Sonos speaker is actually a stereo pair, which is still slightly unusual.

It's worth noting that these are passive speakers. All the Sonos functionality – AirPlay 2, Alexa control, 'TruPlay' room calibration, and streaming services from Apple Music to Spotify to Tidal and beyond, are driven by the Sonos Amp.

Or, to put it another way, these are completely normal speakers, with nothing intrinsically 'Sonos' about them other than, of course, the brand's audio expertise. You can just as easily use any other third-party, passive speakers with the Amp.

The Sonos Architectural by Sonance in-ceiling speaker

“Our goal was to create a solution optimised for installers, bringing the Sonos experience to architectural speakers for the first time,” exulted Sonos CEO Patrick Spence. Yeah, but what about the headphones, Patrick? What about the headphones?

Given the nature of the British weather, we expect the Sonos In-Wall and In-Ceiling to be more sought after than the Outdoor.

•  Sonos Architectural by Sonance In-Wall and In-Ceiling speakers are $599/per pair, shipping February 26 in the USA. Sonos Outdoor are $799/pair), shipping in April. UK and worldwide pricing and availability are TBC.

Duncan Bell

Duncan is the former lifestyle editor of T3 and has been writing about tech for almost 15 years. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. His current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."