Today, Sonos brought over two of its brand-new S5 audio monitors along with an iPad to demo the pre-beta version of every music lover’s wildest dream: A superior controller that enables users to play music from any service — whether that’s from a website, web radio, iTunes, you name it — from any room and at any volume.
The S5 is the company’s latest feat. At $399, it functions as a cool iPod/iPhone dock for “unleashing” your music library on your home and hapless guests. The price point is just right for audiophiles, and the setup process isn’t too hard on technophobes, either. Sonos sets up its own wireless network for the speakers and controllers, so you won’t have to plug in a bunch of wires and cables. The sound quality is great, and given the size of the package, we’re happy to report that the S5 still achieves great volume. You can also buy multiple S5s and set them up to play in stereo.
The coolest part of today’s demo, however, was the kick-butt iPad interface. It lets you view album art, drag-and-drop music into any S5 in any room of your house, control volume anywhere with a single swipe (great for the parents of metal-loving teenagers, we’re assuming), and search for your favorites.
Of course, Sonos’s iPad experience is integrated with Rhapsody, Pandora, Last.fm and a long list of other cloud-based music services. It’ll also play nicely with your iTunes library.
The Sonos iPad controller app will be available free in the App Store in about two months, depending on the length of the approval process.
The Sonos controller costs $349. The S5 monitors, as mentioned, are $399 each. And iPads, as we’ve all heard ad nauseum, start at around $500. This is a sound system that quickly adds up to serious change if you’re starting from scratch. However, for the large intersection of the Venn diagram of music lovers and gadget geeks, we can see this system being a winner.
You can also control Sonos with your iPhone, and we’d be extremely naive to think that the Sonos folks aren’t also working on Android solutions. We can’t wait to see what they cook up for Android tablets in the months to come.
What’s your take on it? If you’ve already got an iPad or Sonos system, would you want to use this app?