Credit: Lily Katz / Android Authority
- Sonos has received a patent for two wireless headphone designs.
- Its first wearable could include noise cancellation and the ability to “swap” audio with nearby speakers.
- The company is said to announce its next product in March.
Update: February 17, 2021: We’ve updated the Sonos wireless headphones rumor hub with updated design outlines and information regarding an adapter ring.
Rumors have persisted of Sonos working on headphones, and there are now hints of what that might entail.
The company received a patent (via Protocol and CNET) covering two potential over-ear headphone designs. While neither would have particularly radical looks, Sonos’ multi-room audio expertise could give them an edge over conventional headphones.
Most notably, the over-ears could have a “swap” that moves existing content to and from the headphones. You could finish listening to a podcast on your headphones when someone goes to bed, or resume an album on your speakers when you arrive home.
Sonos is also exploring knob and touch controls that would provide advanced control over music streaming services. A line-in jack for wired audio could also double as a charging port, although the patent also talks about possible USB charging.
Read more: The best Bluetooth headphones
This could be a full-featured headset with active noise cancellation and voice calls, and could use both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for listening.
According to The Verge, the German filing also depicts an outline of a headphone adapter. This appears similar to the cradle Sonos includes with its Sonos Move smart speaker, which is an alternate way to charge it. The updated filing also includes the Sonos logo on each ear cup, something that wasn’t illustrated in the original drawings.
Credit: German Patent and Trademark Office
Don’t expect this to represent exactly what you’d see from Sonos, however. Patents may offer clues as to what a company is doing next, but there are no guarantees you’ll see headphones like the ones depicted here. A spokesperson told Protocol that the company files “dozens” of patents every year, and that Sonos didn’t have info to share “at this time” for its product roadmap.
There is an incentive for Sonos to release headphones sooner than later. Sonos cut 12% of its jobs as the COVID-19 pandemic struck the US and hurt sales. Wireless headphones would diversify Sonos’ lineup, pit it directly against Apple, Sony, and Bose, and help it weather any poor sales for its signature multi-room speakers.