With everyday life returning to some sort of normality, it’s still been a challenging year with cost-of-living crisis, inflation and chip shortages affecting brands of all sizes.
But much like it did before, Sonos launched a couple of new products in the Ray soundbar and Sub Mini. Looking back at the predictions we made for Sonos in 2022, we got the Sub Mini right, but a few other products didn’t make it to market.
There have been hints that Sonos is looking to expand its products outside of the home theatre sphere, so what do we expect from Sonos in 2023?
Another new wireless speaker?
We expected a new wireless speaker from Sonos in 2022, and one arrived and not the one we expected in the Roam SL. We had thought that the lack of a new Play:3 would have provided an easy slot for a new speaker.
It turns out we were sort of right in expecting a new wireless speaker, but our timing was off. In the summer, The Verge reported that a new, high-end speaker codenamed Optimo 2 was in the works. Three models are expected in this range, the other given the name of Optimo 1 and an SL version without built-in microphones for voice assistants.
Initially these don’t appear to be replacements for the Play:3, and we can’t quite see it replacing the Five altogether given that’s only been on the market for two-and-half-years. Our feeling is that they’ll act as a new range of speakers especially as Dolby Atmos support is being touted, along with Bluetooth audio.
If the renders of the Optimo 2 ring true, it’ll sport an interesting dual-angled cabinet, with twice as much RAM and eight times the processing power of previous speakers. On the specs front, this is looking like a beast of a wireless speaker.
There have been rumours for years that Sonos was looking to get into the headphone market. When it’s hinted that Sonos is looking at products outside of its traditional home theatre pen, this is the area where we think Sonos is looking to make a big splash in.
In 2021 we reported that Sonos had acquired Scottish-based audio brand RHA, changing the name of the company to Origin North LTD. Ahead of this, Sonos had filed patents for a true wireless, the image of which you can see up above.
We’ve also seen plans for a pair of wireless over-ears, which have been in the works for even longer than the true wireless, but has remained nothing more than a rumour so far. There have been suggestions that Sonos is looking to integrate Wi-Fi into its purported headphones too…
Home Theatre OS
Earlier in 2022 there were job adverts for its Home Theatre OS project, including a UX Lead – Next Generation Home Theatre Experience whose role would be to lead “next generation content delivery experience” across mobile, TV, tablet and remote.
It’s unlikely this would replace the S2 as a whole and probably even less likely that it would operate as a single app given the lack of convenience that would present in having two Sonos apps to deal with. We’d imagine, a bit like Sennheiser’s Smart Control, that this would be specific software that reveals itself depending on the product connected, such as a soundbar.
We’d surmise that Sonos’ rival in this space would be Roku, and that whatever its equivalent Home Theatre OS looks like, our guess is that it’d take on a similar shape in blending music and video streaming apps along with its own discovery portal. That’s just speculation on our part and it remains to be seen whether this would launch in 2023, but it does look like Sonos is interested in becoming a bigger player in the living room.