Topic: Audio

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    Google to Partner with Bose for Assistant-Enabled Headphones (Sep 14, 2017)

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    Apple Captured 85% of “Totally Wireless” Earbud Sales in the US Since December (Sep 1, 2017)

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    Samsung Announces Gear Fit 2 Pro and Gear Sport Wearables, IconX Bixby Earbuds (Aug 30, 2017)

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    Amazon Announces Multi-Room Audio Through Echo, Developer Tools (Aug 29, 2017)

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    Google Seems to be Working on Headphones with Google Assistant (Aug 21, 2017)

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    ★ Apple Announces HomePod Home Audio System with Siri (Jun 5, 2017)

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    Apple’s AirPods Have a 98% Customer Satisfaction Rating (May 1, 2017)

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    Sonos Playbase: A TV Speaker With Internet Access, But Without Mics | Variety (Mar 7, 2017)

    This product isn’t a huge surprise, and in fact it seems that a lot of Sonos fans (and observers) are actually disappointed in it. To me, it feels like this is the last product from the old strategy at Sonos before it begins embracing voice control and other features it’s been talking about in recent months. It’s a logical counterpart to the Playbar that Sonos already makes for wall-mounted TVs, and is basically the same product in a different shape, to sit under a TV on a stand instead. Sonos is in an interesting and challenging period at the moment where it’s talking about the future but very much still delivering products from the present (and even past). It’s going to have to move fast to avoid being left behind by a whole set of connected and smart speakers from competitors – I suspect there are growing numbers of people who will sacrifice a little audio quality for a whole home audio system they can control with their voices.

    via Variety

    Two Sonos Updates – The Verge / Variety (Jan 20, 2017)

    Sonos recently got a new CEO, and he’s been communicating with both staff and reporters. The Verge has a mostly intact copy of his internal email to staff, while Variety has an interview with the main himself. The letter to staff is less revealing, though it suggests some broad strokes of the company’s strategy, while the Variety interview adds more unique insight, such as Sonos’s plans to incorporate Amazon’s Alexa into its speakers, a possible IPO, and plans for more of a retail presence. Sonos is in a fascinating space – it was arguably the big standalone home speaker player before Amazon came along with the Echo, and still has the advantage when it comes to whole home audio. But Echo and Google Home offer a big feature Sonos doesn’t, and I think Spence is smart to plan to incorporate both Alexa and potentially other voice assistants. Sonos would still make a fascinating buy for Apple, which already has its products in most of its stores, but both the Echo/Home and Sonos markets could be threatened by an organic entry by Apple into this combined market too.

    via The Verge (CEO letter) and Variety (CEO interview)

    Apple AirPods Topped Wireless Headphone Sales Charts for the Holidays – Fortune (Jan 11, 2017)

    There’s lots of interesting data in here about both AirPod and Beats sales over the past twelve months and the holiday period. Bluetooth headphones in general have skyrocketed in terms of share, something that was happening already but was likely accelerated by the removal of the headphone jack on the new iPhone. All of the new W1-based products are expensive, and it’s not clear from the report what share of Beats sales were these high end ones rather than the cheaper ones Beats offers. But it’s a sign that at least some people are embracing the iPhone’s wireless audio future.

    via Apple AirPods Topped Wireless Headphone Sales Charts for the Holidays | Fortune.com

    Chief Executive of Audio Firm Sonos Steps Down – The New York Times (Jan 10, 2017)

    It must be tempting to make every speaker-related story about Amazon and Echo at the moment, but I think the thrust of this story is off. I just met with Sonos last week at CES, and they’re doing very well – arguably just hitting their stride, with their first brand advertising campaign after many years of word of mouth marketing alone. They recently secured Apple Store distribution and have an interesting partnership with AirBnb. I do think they’ll want to take their current Alexa integration beyond Echo-based control by incorporating microphones into the line, but I don’t see an existential threat here just yet.

    via Chief Executive of Audio Firm Sonos Steps Down – The New York Times