Sonos speakers are on the verge of a big upgrade, as the brand prepares to launch a brand new app and operating system that will bring Hi-Res Audio support, increased personalization, and "usability enhancements".
These enhancements include a new feature called 'room groups' – this means your wireless speaker system will be able to remember frequently grouped players (like your bedroom speakers and your living room speakers). This should allow you to get entire areas of your home – downstairs, for example – playing music much more quickly than before.
Called Sonos S2, the new app and OS will be compatible with most of the company's speakers, including the Sonos One, Sonos Beam, and Sonos Move, and will be released in June.
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However, older speakers that are no longer eligible to receive new features – including the Sonos Connect, Connect:Amp, ZP80, ZP90, ZP100, ZP120, and Sonos Play:1 – will not support the new operating system.
Sonos says that these speakers will still receive bug fixes, music service support, and security patches, and will remain on the existing Sonos app – which will be renamed the Sonos S1 Controller app.
What about my old Sonos speakers?
Sonos built its platform on operability – on the idea that a multi-room setup would be a costly investment but one that they’d be able to use for a lifetime.
However, as its older speakers won’t support the new app and operating system like the rest of Sonos’ product line, there will be some compatibility issues those who have both new and legacy products.
If you have a wireless speaker system that consists of a mixture of old and new devices, Sonos says there are four things you could do. The first – and easiest – is to simply remove the S1-only products from your system, leaving only S2-compatible speakers remaining. This will allow you to download the new Sonos app when it launches in June.
You could also use Sonos' Trade Up program to get a 30% discount on S2-compatible speakers. This program originally required customers to put their old speaker into Recycle Mode, rendering it totally unusable – however, Sonos recently announced that you can now keep your old Sonos speaker and still claim that 30% discount.
The third option is to simply run your existing system on the S1 app. This means you'll still get bug fixes and security patches, and Sonos says it will work with its partners to "keep your music and voice services working for as long as we can". This does mean that you won't be able to take advantage of the new features that the S2 operating system will bring – and it doesn't sound like music service support is guaranteed in perpetuity.
The final option is to separate your sound system into two; Sonos says it will publish detailed instructions on how to do this "nearer the time". If you do this, you won't be able to group your S1 system with your S2 system, though.