Backstage: Sonos’ ZonePlayers iPodize home stereo
If it looks familiar at first glance, wait until you touch one. That’s the CR100 remote control unit ($399) for Sonos’ new ZonePlayer Digital Music System, which uses $499 units called ZonePlayers to distribute digital music throughout your house. We’ve been playing around with a couple of ZonePlayers and the remote (total package price: $1199), and thought you might enjoy a little peek before the official writeup.
The CR100 is staggeringly iPod photo-like, down to the user interface, controls, and button layout. Beyond the use of a 2G/3G iPod touch-sensitive scroll wheel, Sonos has placed its menu/back button above the wheel, play/pause below the wheel, and backward/forward buttons respectively to the left and right of the play/pause button. Then there’s a central action button. The Now Playing screen shows album art on the left with track details and icons (such as Shuffle) on the right. And the menus look like most of the iPod clones out there these days - small differences, with additions such as Internet Radio. Coincidence? No way.
There is, of course, a big difference. Sonos’ CR100 isn’t a portable music player - it’s just a rechargeable remote control with a nice interface. The point is to give you the easy ability to send digital music wirelessly to speakers in different rooms of your house, and while iPod-like, the remote has no use outside of the system. And there are some legitimate iPod distinctions: separate volume buttons on the left side of the color screen are joined by a mute button, and a few other buttons quick-jump to your music library, list of installed ZonePlayers, and offer screen-specific options.
If Apple had an iPod-style wireless remote (or iPod wireless accessory) to complement its AirPort Express and Mac mini combination, we get the feeling that it might be game over for Sonos - especially given that the ZonePlayers can’t play back AAC files from the increasingly popular iTunes Music Store. But that’s not the case - for now, at least.
Click on Read More for a couple of larger pictures. They’re certainly interesting.
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Beta testing for Pokémon GO begins in the U.S.
- Apple’s plan to open stores in India hits a snag (Update: India’s finance minister ratifies ruling)
- Apple looking into charging stations for electric cars
- Apple hires hint at improvements in encryption, health monitoring
- Hyundai adds CarPlay support to more vehicles
- Plaintiffs file new motion to keep ‘Error 53’ Touch ID lawsuit alive
- Report: Apple developing Siri home speaker to rival Amazon’s Echo; will release Siri SDK at WWDC
- iOS Spotlight search now offers relevant results for some emoji
- Cook discusses ambitious plan to beef up Apple Watch’s health monitoring
- New leak shows dual camera exclusive to ‘iPhone 7 Plus,’ but no Smart Connector
- OtterBox Symmetry Series Hybrid Case for 12.9” iPad Pro
- Logitech Logi BASE Charging Stand for iPad Pro
- Twelve South TimePorter for Apple Watch
- August Doorbell Cam
- August Smart Lock HomeKit enabled + Smart Keypad
- ecobee3 HomeKit-enabled smart Wi-Fi thermostat
- Zagg Now Cam
- Yantouch EyE Portable Wireless Speaker
- Netatmo Wind Gauge
- Incipio Stashback for iPhone 6/6s
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)