Sonos, a well-known speaker manufacturer, is preparing to introduce new, expensive “Era” smart speakers to take on Apple’s HomePod line. Before their release the following month, The Verge acquired product marketing photos and an approximate price range.
The latest Sonos flagship speaker, the Era 300, depicted in the image above, is intended to accentuate music in spatial audio. Additional features include Bluetooth playback, AirPlay 2 support, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, and a USB-C line-in. Chris Welch of The Verge reports that the Era 300 is anticipated to cost “in the $450 range.”
The Era 300 has six drivers, which direct sound upward, left, right, and forward. Its size is believed to fall between the Sonos One and Sonos Five. A stereo pair of Era 300s will produce rearward surround sound, including upward-firing music, when paired with the Arc or second-generation Beam.
The Dolby Atmos tracks in the Apple Music library are “unlikely to be supported at this time,” according to Welch, despite the Era 300 being made for spatial audio. This means that Apple and Sonos have yet to reach a deal. He continues by the time the Era 300 hits the shelves or in the upcoming weeks, “This might always change.”
Because it is not designed for spatial audio like the other product, the Era 100, as seen below, has a rounder shape and no upward-firing drivers. Welch refers to the new speaker as “an upgraded Sonos One with (presumably) superior performance with a second tweeter for full stereo sound and an expanded mid-woofer for greater bass.”
The Era 100 has Wi-Fi streaming, AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, and USB-C, just like the other new speaker. The Sonos One, which retails for $219, is likely to be replaced by the Era 100, which is anticipated to cost around $250.
Voice assistants from Amazon Alexa and Sonos Voice Control are anticipated on both speakers. Even yet, Google Assistant might need more support. There isn’t a built-in jack on either speaker. According to Welch, Sonos will sell a line-in converter for USB-C audio and a “combo adaptor” for hooking in through Ethernet.
These speakers will reportedly go on sale in late March from Sonos in both white and black. By the end of the year, the company also intends to introduce a device in a whole new product category.