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November 04, 2010

Sonos' Wireless Dock for iDevices: Simple and Sweet

The last year has forever changed the way I consume and enjoy music. The addition of Spotify to my life (and soon the rest of you in the US) made iTunes a vestigal program good only for synching iPad apps. The addition of Sonos leveraged the power of the Web to tap untold number of electronic music streams from around the world, wirelessly throughout the house. That's why I followed my initial test unit with the purchase of two more, and why my YouTube account is full of videos of my kids rocking out to great sound. Today, a small companion piece, a wireless dock for both iPod and iPhone, arrived in my home, and it makes getting music trapped on all those iDevices incredibly simple to get onto my Sonos. It's simple, small, and sounds great.

Thanks to an address mixup, my review wireless dock unit reached me today, a week or so after the true gadget blogs got their hands on the device. But that didn't make the experience any worse for the wear. After opening the envelope marked "Urgent", the device was streaming music from my iPod Touch to my Sonos players in five minutes or less.

The Sonos S5 systems I have in my home are notable for two primary things - there is no digital display, making the device appear as one big speaker, and also, no way to push physical media. No CD slot. No tape deck. No iPod Dock. The Wireless Dock for iPhone and iPod fills that gap, for the many Apple geeks who want to get music from their iTunes to the best speakers in the house.

Adding the Wireless Dock to Sonos, With AutoPlay in the Office

Setting up the device was truly simple. I plugged it in, added the component to my network using Sonos' desktop software, and it saw my iPod as a music source. Now, I can stream the content from this device (or any friends' devices they bring with them) just by plugging it in and selecting it from Sonos. There's still something magical about clicking pause or play on the computer and having it stop a device wirelessly, but Sonos gets it done. I can even control my iPod Touch with my Android phone using the Andronos software on the Android Market.


My Docked iPod Can Stream to My Sonos Speakers

The retail price for the wireless dock is $119, so it's not the cheapest peripheral ever, but it's a solid add-on for existing Sonos equipment owners, and the device is polished enough to have been made by Apple itself. To be honest, Sonos' hardware is some of the best designed gadgetry in the business, beautiful enough to sit in every major room in my house. That they also have access to all my best sound makes music to my ears.

Disclosure: I received the wireless dock from Sonos for free. I received my initial Sonos S5 unit free of cost as well, and have since purchased multiple devices. In theory, I should tell you I also have free access to Spotify Pro as well, but I'd pay for that too if given the chance. :)