Bowers & Wilkins has introduced a brand new Zeppelin speaker that updates the eye-catching design with trendy connectivity and smarts. The brand new speaker helps wi-fi requirements like Qualcomm’s AptX Adaptive and Apple’s AirPlay 2 and in addition has Alexa built-in for voice management of your music. The brand new Zeppelin is out there to order in mild or darkish gray beginning immediately and is priced at $799 / £699 / €799.
The unique Zeppelin was one of the iconic iPod docks obtainable when it launched in 2007, and it’s been up to date a number of occasions over time as the best way we hearken to music has modified. 2011’s Zeppelin Air added assist for Apple’s AirPlay normal alongside its present 30-pin dock, whereas the 2015 Zeppelin Wi-fi dropped the dock solely to concentrate on wi-fi connectivity utilizing requirements like AptX Bluetooth or Spotify Join (though it stored a 3.5mm enter round as a wired choice).
With the brand new 2021 Zeppelin, nevertheless, B&W has gone absolutely wi-fi. Round its again, there’s a socket for energy and a USB-C port, however the latter is barely there for servicing relatively than connecting a music supply. As an alternative, the Zeppelin helps a full suite of wi-fi requirements, together with AAC, SBC, and AptX Adaptive Bluetooth codecs (however no AptX Lossless), AirPlay 2, Spotify Join, and B&W’s personal Music app, which provides assist for streaming companies like Deezer, Qobuz, and Tidal. There’s no Chromecast assist built-in, neither is Google Assistant obtainable alongside Alexa.
For those who’d like to make use of the Zeppelin as a part of a multi-room setup, then B&W says it plans so as to add assist early subsequent 12 months. When it’s launched, the characteristic will let customers pair a number of Zeppelins along with B&W’s present line of related Formation audio system collectively. Alternatively, in case you’re on iOS, you need to have the ability to obtain the same setup due to Zeppelin’s assist for AirPlay 2. Simply don’t anticipate to have the ability to pair two Zeppelins collectively as a stereo pair; B&W says the multi-room performance is designed for every Zeppelin to supply stereo sound by itself.
Internally, the brand new Zeppelin has a pair of one-inch tweeters, two 3.5-inch mid-range drivers, and a single six-inch subwoofer powered by a complete of 240W of amplification. Though there’s no distant like with earlier Zeppelins, there’s a set of bodily playback controls on the rear of the speaker (however there’s no bodily off swap for Alexa).
Within the period of iPod docks, the Zeppelin was one of the fascinating all-in-one audio system available on the market. However within the years since, it looks like Bowers & Wilkins has misplaced floor to the likes of Sonos and Amazon as multi-room audio and good audio system have taken over, respectively. With the brand new Zeppelin, I’m certain the corporate is hoping to reverse that development.