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 likewise has Alexa built-in for voice management of your music. The brand new Zeppelin is on the market to order in mild or darkish gray beginning immediately and is priced at $799 / £699 / €799.
The unique Zeppelin was one of the vital iconic iPod docks obtainable when it launched in 2007, and it’s been up to date a number of instances through the years as the best way we hearken to music has modified. 2011’s Zeppelin Air added help for Apple’s AirPlay commonplace alongside its current 30-pin dock, whereas the 2015 Zeppelin Wi-fi dropped the dock completely to give attention to wi-fi connectivity utilizing requirements like AptX Bluetooth or Spotify Join (though it saved a 3.5mm enter round as a wired choice).
With the brand new 2021 Zeppelin, nevertheless, B&W has gone totally wi-fi. Round its again, there’s a socket for energy and a USB-C port, however the latter is simply there for servicing somewhat 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 help for streaming providers like Deezer, Qobuz, and Tidal. There’s no Chromecast help built-in, neither is Google Assistant obtainable alongside Alexa.
If you happen to’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 help early subsequent yr. When it’s launched, the function will let customers pair a number of Zeppelins along with B&W’s current line of related Formation audio system collectively. Alternatively, if you happen to’re on iOS, it’s best to be capable to obtain an analogous setup because of Zeppelin’s help 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 vital fascinating all-in-one audio system in the marketplace. However within the years since, it seems like Bowers & Wilkins has misplaced floor to the likes of Sonos and Amazon as multi-room audio and sensible audio system have taken over, respectively. With the brand new Zeppelin, I’m positive the corporate is hoping to reverse that pattern.