Sonos is gearing up to launch something fans have been clamouring for – a wireless speaker that can play music and podcasts over Bluetooth, not just Wi-Fi. Until now, Sonos has resisted the idea and marketed its solution as a marked improvement over Bluetooth, indeed the Santa Barbara-based company launched an ad campaign mocking the bleep and ping of notifications on your phone interrupting your music.
However, it looks like the firm is about to backtrack as an official filing with the FCC revealed that an upcoming portable speaker with feature Bluetooth and AirPlay 2.
According to The Verge, the new model – dubbed S17 – will look similar to the existing Sonos One, albeit with gentler curves. It will feature the same physical controls at the top of the speaker and launch with the same colour options, based on a leaked image of the device published by ZatzNotFunny.com.
It will be the first Sonos speaker to use Bluetooth for music playback. Although new Sonos One and Sonos Beam hardware from the company already features the wireless technology, until now it has only ever been used to temporarily communicate with your smartphone or tablet during the first-time setup process.
The forthcoming speaker will include a button on the back that lets users toggle between the typical Wi-Fi streaming included on all Sonos products, and Bluetooth.
When in Bluetooth mode, you won’t be able to control playback using the Sonos app. Instead, it will work just like any other run-of-the-mill Bluetooth speaker.
You'll need to switch over to Wi-Fi in order to use the new speaker with AirPlay 2 and the Home app preinstalled with iOS, too. Using Bluetooth alone also means you won't be able to pair the speaker with any other Sonos hardware in your house – so guests who don't want to download the companion app to share a track with you won't be able to enjoy the surround sound treatment.
According to sources speaking to The Verge, another new feature coming to the next Sonos speaker is called Auto Trueplay. This will use the built-in microphones to automatically adjust the output from the speaker to recalibrate the audio. While Sonos already offers a set-up process that requires users to wander around the room waving their phone around while it emits a sound, that's not really a practical solution when the hardware can be used as a portable Bluetooth speaker.
Sonos is widely-believed to unveil its all-new speaker – as well as a refreshed Sonos Connect – during its two-day event on August 26 - 27, 2019. T3 will have all of the news as soon as it breaks, so stay tuned.