Sonos headphones may finally see the light of day in 2024, if a cryptic teaser from the company’s chief executive is to be believed.
Longtime Sonos CEO Patrick Spence is quoted in the company’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings release pointing toward things to come in the following fiscal year. And while he doesn’t explicitly mention headphones or any other product vertical, he did reference “our entry into a new multibillion-dollar category in the second half of the year that will complement our current offering, delight customers, and drive immediate revenue.”
Let’s look at that sentence, in reverse.
“Drive immediate revenue” almost certainly means something you can buy. That’s money that comes in right then, not later. And Sonos, ya know, sells things.
As for the “multibillion-dollar category,” it’s pretty safe to say that Sonos isn’t about to start making a phone. (Note to Sonos: Do not start making a phone. It is a bad idea.) And don’t expect a Sonos-branded TV or car or computer or something like that.
Why headphones, then? First, because Sonos headphones have been rumored for years. And while that rumor has gained even more steam relatively recently (we’re making the leap from 2019 to 2022 in those links), we’re gearing up for the release of the first headphones with ultra-wideband tech in 2024. That’s important because it’ll finally break through the limitations of Bluetooth and bring audio quality previously unattainable to a set of wireless cans.
Sonos unleashed a the start of a new generation of speakers in 2023, with a new look, and a new name. The Era 100 and Era 300 speakers are widely well-regarded and very much keep Sonos in the premium (read: not inexpensive, at $249 and $449, respectively) speaker market.
Spence didn’t immediate elaborate during his prepared remarks on Sonos’ earnings call, though he did say the company expects to do somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million in revenue from new products, “with this exciting new product accounting for a large portion of this revenue of in the second half.” Sonos’ fiscal year ends on September 30 of each year.
Here’s the full quote from Spence, for context:
“While current market conditions remain challenging, this is the beginning of a multiyear product cycle where we expect to reap the rewards of our [research and development] investments. This cycle begins with our entry into a new multibillion-dollar category in the second half of the year that will complement our current offering, delight customers and drive immediate revenue. We are so excited about what we have to share with the world in fiscal 2024 and beyond.”
Spence later in the Q&A section of the earnings call did reference the four new categories that Sonos plans to enter long-term. The first of which is Sonos Pro (think Sonos for business), which debuted in 2023 and is more of a long soak, he said. “The one we’ll get into this year has more immediate benefits to our business. … It’s quite material for what we’re laying out into 2024.”