Sonos Controller on the iPhone

sonosAs a longtime fan of the Sonos (see here, here, here and here), I’ve been wondering ever since the launch of the iTunes AppStore when Sonos would release software to turn my iPhone and iPod Touch into a Sonos controller. Well, today was the day, and having just installed the software and played around with a bit, I have to say that Sonos has done an excellent job. I have a feeling the iPhone is going to become my default controller for my Sonos now. One big bonus over the Sonos controller with the iPhone app is the ability to use a virtual keyboard to search for music — on the scroll-wheel-based Sonos controller, text entry is a bit cumbersome. Way to go, guys! Finally, I have to give Sonos props for making it a free app, a very classy touch.

Update: I should point to a nice in-depth blog post over at Zatz Not Funny! for folks looking for more information, and also will embed the youtube video that appeared on that post. One excellent point the readers over there made is than Sonos really needed to do this — since a user armed with a mac, and a couple airport expresses and the Apple Remote Application on their iPhone could get pretty close to the same functionality that Sonos provides.

That being said, I still give Sonos the victory nod by a wide margin — access to internet radio, and the ability to consume services like Last.fm, Rhapsody and Pandora (now FREE on Sonos, BTW) without the use of ANY computer give the Sonos a distinct edge. It is just a more complete and well-integrated solution, IMHO.

And, here’s the youtube demo.

  • Dave

    I'm also a Sonos fan. Curious what you think about this: why would anyone buy the controller from Sonos now? Are there any advantages to the controller over just buying an iPod Touch and using that (the iPod Touch is less expensive).

    I think one thing you're missing about the “alternative configuration” using macs and airport express is synchronization. I believe this is a non-trivial problem to ensure that the song is synchronized between multiple zones.

  • Second that. I loved everything about the Sonos when I saw it a few years back — great industrial design, rocking UI for the controller, and zero-config install. If you really want a complete home audio solution, I'm assuming that keeping all of the different rooms/”zones” in synch is a very big deal. (Ever been on the phone with someone watching the same TV show you are? Nothing more annoying than that half-second echo lag..) And for customers who are audiophiles but don't want to stress over configuring their wireless routers, the Sonos is a breeze.

    Personally, I'm fine with my Rokus. I usually have at least one PC running in the house anyway, and the multi-room party scenario is maybe 2% of my music listening. Way more often I'm just hanging out on the couch and want some good background tunes, which the Roku does OK. More native functionality around adaptive playlists would be nice, but I can work around that a bit using WMP, and that's good enough given the price point.