Sonos headphones may give Apple AirPods Max a run for their money in the year ahead


Since shifting leadership a few years back, Sonos has steadily expanded its connected speaker portfolio to include new categories like portable audio. That’s a pattern we should expect to see continue next year, according to the company. This could mean that Sonos will soon compete with Apple and Beats in the headphone space.

Sonos beat Apple and Amazon to the punch on nailing down multi-room audio by several years. HomePod, Echo, and Google smart speakers have all caught up, however, so Sonos has leaned further into home theater solutions and Bluetooth speakers.

The idea of Sonos-branded headphones has been floating around as the next new category for a few years. Bloomberg reported back in 2019 that Sonos had headphones on its radar:

Speaker maker Sonos is planning to expand beyond the home with high-end headphones, according to people familiar with the plans.

The wireless, over-the-ear headphones are still in the early development stages and could be launched by next year, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private plans. High-end pairs often cost $300 or more, and Sonos is expected to target a similar price range, the people added.

While Sonos could lean on audio fidelity as a selling point, the headphones would probably integrate with the Sonos ecosystem. How headphones, portable speakers, and home audio work together is an interesting question. For me, that’s what makes the idea of Sonos headphones especially interesting.

It’s possible we may learn the answer to that question as soon as 2023. The Verge highlights comments made by Sonos CEO Patrick Spence that signal something new for the company is on the way:

“While we are always cautious when talking about our product roadmap, we are investing in products that will allow us to enter four new categories, one of which we expect to announce in fiscal ’23,†Spence said on Sonos’ Wednesday earnings call. “We have a proven track record of gaining share when entering a new category,†he said, emphasizing that new categories will help diversify Sonos’ business in the long term.

That sounds promising for Sonos fans. Chris Welch has more analysis on how Sonos could differentiate its headphones from Bose and other competitors. In short, Sonos has a solid grasp on up-and-coming audio technology. If you’re an AirPods Max customer, competition from Sonos will make the premium headphone category even more competitive. Hopefully that’s a signal that Apple will continue to push the limits of its own super expensive headphones that are starting to show their age.

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