Sonos has unveiled its latest connected speaker, although it shares its name with an existing model, the Play:5. The update is significant though: a new design, including touch sensors rather than physical buttons.
But the feature that’s getting most attention is called Trueplay, which automatically calibrates the sound of the speaker by testing it with the owner’s iPhone or iPad microphone. “It’s able to dramatically alter the sound, going so far in one demo as to make a speaker hidden inside a cabinet sound like it was out in the open,” reported The Verge’s impressed tester.
Sonos is betting that people will see the value in such a feature: the Play:5 costs $499, which is $100 more than the existing model. This, at a time when cheaper gadgets that convert existing hi-fis into Sonos-style streaming systems – from Gramofon to Google’s new Chromecast Audio – are competing with it in the market. That said, Sonos’ focus on audio quality will be welcomed by its streaming-service partners – especially those upping their own specifications on this score.