Sonos 2.7 Update with last.fm and Controller for iPhone

by Volker Weber

lastfmsonosiphone

Here is the update I have been sitting on for a while. I have now been using Sonos 2.7 for a couple of months as a beta tester. And I have been enjoying one of its features: integration with last.fm. Today it is being released to all Sonos customers.

But last week there was a surprise for me. I met with Mieko Kusano, Senior Director Product Management at Sonos Inc. — the person responsible for all of Sonos design. She had a large wheeled suitcase and asked me for a power outlet. When she opened the suitcase, it was full of stuff I already knew. Two ZonePlayers with speakers, a ZoneBridge, an Internet router, an Apple Time Capsule used as access point and NAS, and lots and lots of cables.

Plus one iPod touch.

And I was still unaware of what she was going to show me. It turned out to be a software controller for the iPhone and the iPod touch. And what a lovely one. Let's hear it from Mieko's husband:

It's free. As in free beer, from the iTunes AppStore today. And it essentially has made the Sonos system a lot more affordable, especially for those people who already have an iPod touch or an iPhone. You can now start with one ZonePlayer and use your iPhone/iPod as the controller. Or you can add an iPod touch as a controller. It starts at $220 whereas a Sonos controller is $400.

I am afraid, that this person has had a very unfortunate timing. I don't think he will sell a lot of his controllers.

There is also another important update for people who like to listen to Internet radio. Instead of listing 600 radio stations and maintaining that list, Sonos is now partnering with radiotime.com and use their catalog of 15.000 radio stations (plus maybe 10.000 radio shows). You can still add you own if you so like to, and you won't lose your favorites when upgrading.

A lot more pictures at heise.de.

Comments

Huh..... I think now it is time to get a Sonos and an iPhone as well......hummm...

Sebastian Grötsch, 2008-10-28

Well, it's long overdue. :-)

Volker Weber, 2008-10-28

Excellent! Finally one (more) credible excuse to buy and iPod touch. Can't wait to come home and check out the new remote software.

Markus Dierker, 2008-10-28

I'd like an iPhone too, if the integration of email, addresbook and calender would be better...

Thomas Lang, 2008-10-28

The "integration of email, addresbook and calender" is just fine. :-)

Volker Weber, 2008-10-28

Good job I already bought an iPod Touch, before the rush, to use as a remote for our AppleTV (Which we only use as an iTunes server and not to actually watch TV shows with :-)

John Keys, 2008-10-28

Thanx, great news. Thats what i was waiting for, now i can get an iPhone and some Sonos equipment, making it all a lot easier and since i don't have to buy a controller, a good bit cheaper.

Dirk Steins, 2008-10-28

Btw. if you have active speakers, there is no need for the bigger Zone Player, or is it?

Sebastian Grötsch, 2008-10-28

The ZP90 has volume adjustable line-out. You should be able to hook up your speakers there.

Volker Weber, 2008-10-28

Ok Volker, I missed what kind of integration I'm talking of. I think you are aware of it, but maybe some reader's ar not: the integration of Domino.

But maybe an iPod Touch would be a good alternative for me.

Thomas Lang, 2008-10-28

Heck, that's a good marketing video. Gives you the impression that the Sonos must be a well thought out, no frills system with an incredible user experience, makes you wanting to pull out your credit card immediately.

Haiko Hebig, 2008-10-28

is tht "eat your heart out" time for Logitech?

Armin Roth, 2008-10-28

Wow, it's like Xmas. My new zoneplayer was also delivered today... It's pretty expensive to follow vowe.net, but worthwhile ;-) Thx!

Henrik Müller, 2008-10-28

I have been wondering. Is the squeezebox stuff from creative any competition or does it not match? Has anyone ever compared the systems or are they actually not the same?

Frank Quednau, 2008-10-28

@Frank - They're very different. Squeezebox is pretty much a standalone music player and the controllers, UI etc. are all geered towards that.

Sonos was designed from the ground up to be multi-room. The player mesh together making a resilient wireless cloud with no music interruptions. Squeezebox requires good to excellent wifi coverage in each room you want music.

Sonos supply a model with a built in amplifier, this is a lot tidier and simpler to setup in many cases where you don't want to use active speakers.

The Sonos controllers can easily control volume and playback across your home. The Squeezebox can only control one player at a time and switching between them takes a few button presses and a wait whilst the controller negotiates with the new player.

Squeezebox requires server software which requires a fairly powerful machine to network your players and transcode unsupported formats to ones that the limited players can handle. For example, Sonos players handle Apple Lossless natively. On a Squeezebox, these unsupported codecs first have to be converted to FLAC before playback commences, this can cause a 2-3sec delay from when you press play.

The Squeezebox is an OK budget solution but you truly get what you pay for with the Sonos.

Ben Rose, 2008-10-28

And I had been wondering what you were doing with last.fm...

Ole Saalmann, 2008-10-28

Has anyone else set up the iTunes Remote app with the Airport Express and AirTunes? I have this sending music from my iMac to my table radio in the kitchen-- a nice poor-man's Sonos system. I do experience some drop-outs, and I'm not sure how well it syncs multiple rooms if you try that. But if you have an iPhone and device with audio aux-in, it's $100us well spent.

Seth Crothers, 2008-10-28

Great! My kids tend to take the controller with them to their bedroom and there fall asleep when listening to Benjamin Blümchen, Pipi Langstrumpf etc. Now we have the missing controller by using the iphone.

Stephan Bohr, 2008-10-28

Seth, it is indeed a nice solution if you want to spend less.

Ole, you should have known better. :-) I could not tell you what I was doing. You had to connect the dots yourself.

Volker Weber, 2008-10-28

"It starts at $220 whereas a Sonos controller is $400."

Where do the $220 come from? I can only see the Sonos ZonePlayer 90 for $349.

Stefan Weigand, 2008-10-28

Never mind. I have to learn to read... you ment the iPod, not the ZonePlayer... :-O

Stefan Weigand, 2008-10-28

@Stefan - Sonos CR100 $399 link

The $220 is the cost of the iPod Touch.

Ben Rose, 2008-10-28

Does anybody know what were those speakers he had in his office? They look just like what I would need.

And yes, I can see an Ipod touch as a christmas present THIS BIG. THIS BIIIG!

8-)

Andrew Magerman, 2008-10-28

They appear to be the standard speakers that Sonos sells with their kit.

Volker Weber, 2008-10-28

The last.fm logo shadow is cut by the image's border and does not fade out like with the other objects. You know, if I were Monk I would go bonkers!

SCNR ;)

Frank Quednau, 2008-10-28

Ok, so many Sonos experts and users here, i just have to ask (and didn't find it in the FAQ at sonos.com): Is it possible to use the Sonos as an alarm clock? I currently use a mini stereo with a built-in alarm timer to let me wake up each morning, and i really would like to replace this with a ZP120 or ZP90, but for this i need to be able to set a daily alarm. So is this possible or not?

Dirk Steins, 2008-10-29

Yes, you can:

Volker Weber, 2008-10-29

Thanks, that's what i needed to know. Now i can go and order some. And you can go tell Sonos that they made another sell because of your great articles about it - otherwise i probably wouldn't have known about Sonos at all.

Dirk Steins, 2008-10-29

Just three quick notes:
- the iPhone app is sooooooooo much better when entering text. Sonos will really have to update their controller now (or ditch it in favor of iPod touches).

- the alarm clock can not be set from the iPhone app (at least I did not find it). You have to use your computer / Sonos controller for now.

- last.fm in "scrobble only" mode: I had troubles accessing my last.fm account from our Sonos. Turns out my profile on sonos.com had a bogus address. After I changed it to a German one, last.fm started working.

Ole Saalmann, 2008-10-29

I wish the Zoneplayer would act as wlan access points, as well. Then I could have a "it just works" wlan mesh for my mobile computers - everywhere in my flat.

Hanno Zulla, 2008-10-29

This is fantastic news. The integration with last.fm being something that has been on my wish list for a long time. No reason not to get an iPhone now..

Jonathan Lewis, 2008-10-30

Thanks, Volker.

Andrew Magerman, 2008-10-31

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