Recent speculation that that the Sonos Ray could be an affordable new soundbar from the prestigious audio manufacturer piqued our interest, but it also reminded us it’s been a while since we heard any fresh Sonos headphones rumours. Still, there’s plenty of gossip about the Sonos wireless headphones release date, price and specs that we have heard – all of which is collected and analysed below.
The company has long made some of the best wireless speakers around and the multi-room specialist recently broke new ground for its range. At a March event, we saw the introduction of its first ever portable outdoor speaker, the Sonos Roam, which got us thinking that 2022 could be the year of big and bold new Sonos reveals. Are the oft-rumoured Sonos headphones next up?
Read on for a complete round up of all the latest Sonos wireless headphones news, including price and release date rumours, to see what could be on the cards this year.
When could Sonos headphones launch?
We thought the Sonos headphones release date was going to fall last year, as company CEO Patrick Spence has previously pledged to deliver two new products every 12 months. In the end, only the Sonos Roam turned up, leading us to believe that 2022 could be the year that it diversified into wireless headphones.
It’s a theory that’s been given added weight by a recent LinkedIn post from Sonos’ VP of Global Marketing & Communications, Pete Pedersen. It reveals that the firm is looking to hire a new ad agency to aid in “creating a new category for an established brand” as part of the “most ambitious projects in our history.” Which all sounds a lot like it could refer to the company’s entry into the wireless headphone space if you ask us.
Having said that, the global electronics supply chain is still recovering from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, so like many manufacturers, Sonos could see its wireless headphone ambitions delayed until 2023. Plus, Spence said in a Q1 2022 earnings call that his company’s focus for the year would be on new products in existing categories, so it’s still anyone’s guess what might go down.
- Related: Which Sonos speaker should I buy?
Sonos headphones price
In terms of potential pricing, we’ve mostly got our industry knowledge guiding us. Sonos typically rivals Bose in terms of its prices for wireless speakers, and as our Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review highlights, the Business Class flagbearer carries a £350 RRP. This would also be the same cost as the superlative Sony WH-1000XM4 – the best of the best on-ear headphones – and keep with Sonos’ premium but not exorbitant price ethos.
Early reports from Bloomberg have Sonos undercutting the competition, however, with the outlet saying such a product would launch in the US at $300 – around £220 before tax.
- Related: Sony WH-1000XM4 review
Sonos headphones rumours and latest news
Much of what we think we know about the rumoured Sonos wireless headphones is based on patent filings from the past few years, though most recently it was mooted that there could be a Sonos voice assistant in the works to rival the likes of Amazon’s Alexa. Obviously, the company’s entire portfolio could benefit from an in-house AI helper – but launching one alongside a blockbuster new product like headphones could work particularly well.
Back to the those patents, though. They include both references to the potential design of such a product, as well as hints about what features it might offer.
The one that really kickstarted the Sonos headphones rumour mill was spotted by Protocol back in August 2020 and brings to light a USPTO filing with images showing off a couple of different over-ear and wireless design options.
Most the features detailed in the documentation won’t surprise those familiar with the wireless headphone market. They’ll likely offer ANC (active noice cancellation), voice controls including support for a range of voice assistants, and a USB-C charging port.
However, what’s really interesting about this filing is how it details integration with existing Sonos set-ups – or something called Sonos Swap. This would see the Sonos headphones move playback to your local hi-fi system when you return home, so as soon as you take off the cans the same tune (or podcast) is playing in your house.
As the patent says: “For example, if a particular piece of content play is currently playing on the wireless headphone, a swap changes the playback to play that piece of content on one or more other playback devices on the local network.”
This kind of feature absolutely screams Sonos, as the company is known for the slick multi-room software that complements its speakers to make whole-home audio dreams a reality.
Beyond that, there’s also a chance that your future Sonos headphones might offer both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. Sonos was relatively late to the Bluetooth party, only adding it to a speaker in 2019 with the launch of the Sonos Move. However, the Roam also offers Bluetooth support so it’s clearly making its way into the company’s portfolio – that, and no pair of wireless cans would really work without it.
Wi-Fi integration is the more intriguing bit, as it would enable the headphones to stream music directly from the internet (rather than through an intermediary Bluetooth device) and thereby enable lossless playback at 24-bit/192kHz. This was picked up by Digital Trends by way of an August 2021 German patent application.
According to this documentation, the solution for how to cram the necessary Wi-Fi kit into the headphones without compromising on aesthetics could be to place the antennae in the earcups, then run a connecting wire “almost twice the diameter of a typical headband cable in a Bluetooth-only headphone” through the headband.
Throwing an element of doubt into things, however, is Sonos’ recent acquisition of UK headphone manufacturer RHA Audio. In and of itself, this would seem to further fuel rumours that headphones are very much in the company’s future. The problem is that RHA’s expertise is in-ear headphones, not the wireless over-ear cans we’ve seen detailed elsewhere.
This could mean that Sonos is hedging its bets and investigating the viability of launching both kinds of devices. However, it also serves to underline just show speculative all these Sonos wireless headphone rumours are, especially as they’re based on patents,
As the company itself told Protocol in response to the first USPTO filing: “As a company founded in innovation, we’re always working on different ideas and innovations that can help the world listen better. We continue to make investments in our strong patent portfolio with dozens of new patents each year.”
- Now read: the best cheap Bluetooth speakers to buy