Bose is chiming in with their own take on the unified home speaker system with their new SoundTouch Wi-Fi systems. The new speakers can all be controlled from a mobile device or PC over Wi-Fi quickly, easily, and independently.
The SoundTouch Wi-Fi systems, it should be noted, are all separate speaker units, so if you want the multi-room experience, you’ll need to make multiple purchases. SoundTouch is more like a new protocol that Bose is introducing to its line of home speakers – for example, Bose’s current Wave sound system will eventually be re-released in a SoundTouch version.
The speakers themselves are standard fare, with the common thread being the app interface. The app, which is available for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows 8, can control any SoundTouch speakers in the home that are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. For Apple users, AirPlay is also supported. From the app, you can stream any of your music to any connected speakers you choose, then control the volume and playlist. There’s also integrated support for Pandora, with support for iHeartRadio and Deezer coming in (don’t hold your breath) the second half of 2014. On the left side of the app, there are six presets that you can assign to Pandora stations or your own playlists, for quick and easy music.
Also available will be a SoundTouch controller – basically, a physical version of the app. It’s a round device with six buttons for the assigned presets, volume controls, track back and forward, and an OLED screen showing previews of your presets.
Initially, Bose will be selling the SoundTouch 30 Wi-Fi system, which features a built-in subwoofer, the SoundTouch 20 Wi-Fi system (a little smaller), and the SoundTouch Portable Wi-Fi system, which can operate on rechargeable battery power. Next year, Bose will add the SoundTouch Stereo JC Wi-Fi, a three-piece speakers and bass system, weather-resistant outdoors speakers, and speakers optimized for home entertainment and home theater systems.
The entire range of speaker systems will sell for between $400 and $1,200 excluding the forthcoming home entertainment and home theater systems. The SoundTouch 30, SoundTouch 20, and SoundTouch Portable are all available now, with the SoundTouch Wave system coming in December. Everything else, including the $100 SoundTouch controller, will be hitting stores early next year.