Rumours have been around for years that Sonos has been looking to get into the wireless headphone space. Some even believed that ahead of its most recent product launch – the Sonos Roam – that the company was going to finally drop the needle on the Sonos wireless headphones we’ve been hearing about.
That wasn’t the case, but reports have emerged that Sonos could be looking to launch a true wireless earbud thanks to some patents the company filed to the USPTO back in February.
It’s still very early days, and there’s no certainty that the earbuds will become a consumer viable product. But it does show Sonos is increasingly looking outside the home after the launch of its Move and Roam portable speakers, and its audio partnership with Audi.
When will the Sonos true wireless be announced?
We have absolutely no idea.
The patent filing to the USPTO in February is no confirmation this headphone will come to market, or that even if it did become available that it would be in the form the patents show. Any number of things could change, including Sonos’ interest in making a true wireless.
There have rumours about a pair of full-sized pair of Sonos wireless headphones since 2019 – sources commented to Bloomberg the headphones were looking to launch in 2020. The fact that you’re not holding a pair in your hands now says plenty about development timescales.
We know that Sonos is interested in taking its approach and exploring the audio market that exists outside the home. It’s had success with the Move and the Roam, but a headphone would be a different kettle of fish altogether.
How much will Sonos earbuds cost?
Again, considering that the patent filing reflects the headphones are in the early thought process, there’s not much to go on.
But we know Sonos, and we know they drive a hard bargain in terms of pricing. RRP for their products rarely fluctuates and people still buy them. We don’t know what the sales of the Sonos Roam are, but we’d like it’s done well considering its the most affordable speaker in Sonos portfolio.
Perhaps that – as well as Sonos’ lack of experience in the headphone market – would indicate Sonos would arrive towards the mid-range and lower in terms of price. Given their lack of experience, it would make a certain amount of sense to start of affordable and build up. We could be years away from hearing about the price in any case.
What features will the Sonos wireless earbuds have?
The patent did provide an interesting look at the ‘possible’ earbuds and the charging case. And interesting is the word for these earbuds.
The look like earbuds, but they look very much unlike traditional efforts. They’re in-ears for sure (you can tell by the ear-tips), but the shape is unusual. They sort of have the look of helicopter seed look or, from a certain angle, they look like a clown shoe.
There’s another more traditional design (that looks very rectangular), which likely indicates Sonos is playing around with shape and form. Both appear to follow the stem design approach instead of the embedded approach (like Bose or Sony), and suggests they’ve been inspired by Apple more than anyone else, with touch / playback controls at the top of the stem.
What’s even more interesting is the charging case and how the earbuds purport to interact with them. Rather than a cradle where the earbuds ‘sit’, the earbuds click into place at either end of the case via what Sonos refers to as ‘charging adapters’. It’s an interesting approach, and potentially reflects a smaller, more pocketable case.
Given Sonos’ aversion to Bluetooth before the appearance of the Move, what form could the wireless connectivity take with these earbuds? We can only speculate at this point in time, but judging by the patent filing it wouldn’t surprise us if the earbuds worked predominantly on Bluetooth when outside the home, and then similar to how Apple’s devices interact with each other, started talking to each other more vigorously when connected through the Sonos S2 app.
Given Sonos’ platform agnostic approach, you’d expect Google Assistant and Alexa voice control in some form as suggested by an image in the filing. There’s not much to go on otherwise, but the emergence if this patent filing serves as an interesting look at the future of Sonos.