Apple has already infiltrated our living rooms with the likes of streaming service Apple TV Plus and its latest streaming box, the Apple TV 4K – and a new patent suggests that the tech giant could be working on a wireless speaker system to complete your home cinema setup.
The patent is for a "wireless and wired speaker hub for a home theater system", with a diagram that shows a 5.1 set up, comprising a two front-facing stereo speakers, a center channel speaker, two rear stereo speakers, and a subwoofer.
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The patent was uncovered by Patently Apple (opens in new tab) on February 25, after 67 Apple patents were published by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Since then, speculation of competition between Apple and the likes of Sonos and Bowers & Wilkins has mounted – after all, these audio brands currently dominate the wireless home theatre market and a new Apple wireless speaker system could prove very problematic.
The Apple speakers described in the patent would be capable of communicating wirelessly, a little like the Sonos Sub connects to the Sonos Beam, Playbar, and Playbase. Interestingly, there's no sign of a soundbar, which is a convenient way to improve your TV's audio without the need for a huge speaker setup – that convenience is something we'd expect Apple to be very interested in.
A home cinema competitor
While a patent is no guarantee of an impending product release, it would make sense for Apple to expand its home audio output to include solutions to boost your TV's speakers.
After all, it already has a foothold in home cinema in terms of streaming, and its flagship smart speaker, the Apple HomePod, is proof that the company is capable of creating truly impactful wireless audio.
Plus, with Apple TV Plus shows coming with Dolby Atmos immersive sound, it makes sense that the brand would make the hardware to go with them; though, for true Dolby Atmos, some of the speakers would need upward-firing tweeters to blast sound up at your ceiling and down to you ears.
If this Apple wireless speaker system does see the light of day, it could prove worrying for the likes of Sonos and Bowers & Wilkins, which are known for their popular home audio systems.
Still, Apple hardware is notorious for favoring the brand's own ecosystem, particularly when it comes to music streaming, while these audio brands tend to be more agnostic, appealing to a larger number of people.