The Sonos One introduced direct Alexa voice control to Sonos's range of music speakers. Now it looks like Amazon's ever-game assistant is coming to the brand's home cinema range too, with an update to the Playbase or Playbar. Following the new naming convention laid down with the Sonos One, presumably it will be called the Sonos Base or the Sonos Bar.
There's no official name for it yet, however – this FCC filing refers to it as the S14 – and the only available image of it looks like the below. We think it's safe to say the finished version will have a rather more subtle appearance, as opposed to being literally a featureless white square with a label on the bottom.
The Sonos One was a straight replacement for the old Play:1 with a very similar appearance and sound, but the introduction of a much more powerful processor so it could handle new features such as Alexa, and the likes of AirPlay 2 and Google Home, both of which should arrive this year.
The FCC filing clearly points to a voice assistant being in the new device, because there's a less basic image included in it: the control panel. It's the same as the Sonos One's, including a microphone mute button and touch volume controls.
Given the extreme squareness of the diagram on the FCC filing, it seems feasible that it's the Sonos Playbase getting the upgrade – it looks like this (for non-afficianados of such things, it's a soundbase, which is like a soundbar, but your TV sits directly on top of it).
The Playbase only came out last year so it would seem more logical to update the older Playbar soundbar instead. Perhaps Playbase sales have made it a more obvious candidate for getting Alexa and a swankier chipset, though. We don't know. Of course, it is entirely possible that the 'picture' of the new device is not intended to bear any resemblance whatsoever to its finished appearance.
Other details are limited but we can confirm from the FCC filing that it will have dual-band Wi-Fi with 4x4 MIMO in the 2.4GHz band. Various outlets are reporting there will be an HDMI connection as well – the Playbar and Playbase only had an optical input.
This would make perfect sense as it would allow easier setup, and support for newer surround sound formats. It must be said that there is no reference to HDMI in the FCC filing so it is not clear where that claim comes from. Sonos doesn't comment on rumours, so you'll just have to wait and find out.