Smart speaker maker Sonos seems to be readying a satellite speaker to bring true surround sound as well s voice control to its Playbar soundbar, if a new FCC filing is any indication.
A Sonos spokesperson declined to comment on the filing.
The heavily redacted filing, which was published by the FCC Monday, describes a new Sonos device with the model number S18, which has both Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity. Photos and other documents aren’t included in the public version of the filing, but one slip-up gives us a good idea of what S18 will be:
A list of the equipment used in testing the new device includes a mention of the company’s existing Playbar as a “master device,” and describes the S18 as a “wireless smart speaker (right).” The fact that the new device was tested in conjunction with the Playbar suggests that it is meant to be used as a satellite speaker in a home theater setup.
The filing further illustrates this setup with the following schematics:
The speaker also seems to have touch controls similar to the ones first introduced with the Sonos One (hat tip to Dave Zatz), which indicate the presence of a built-in microphone for far-field voice control.
Sonos first introduced the Playbar as its very first soundbar back in early 2013. The company followed up with a smaller and cheaper model, dubbed the Sonos Beam, earlier this year.
Like all recent Sonos products, the Beam includes microphones for far-field voice control — something that the original Playbar doesn’t offer. By adding smart satellite speakers to its line-up, Sonos could allow Playbar owners to get surround sound as well as voice control to their home theater setups.
Adding another product for Playbar owners to its line-up would also be a good match for the company’s business model, which relies heavily on repeat buyers. In its fiscal year of 2017, Sonos sold around 38% of its devices to consumers who already owned at least one of its products.
Update: 10:53am: This post was updated with additional information on touch control for the S18 device.