Today’s world of music is all about the stream. Spotify. Google Play Music. Pandora. We tell our music service of choice our mood or desired style of tunes, and off we go.
With its latest beta release, Sonos — the people behind those incredible wireless speakers and whole home audio systems — is building off the theme of always-on music, and introducing new features with the goal of “a continual flow of music.”
I’ve been a long-time fan of Sonos. They really get everything just about perfect. You can independently control zones, meaning you could have classical playing in a bedroom, and some Rihana in the family room. And, of course, volume is also variable across each speaker/zone. Plus, the interface on the various apps (iOS, Android, PC desktop) has matured into something quite ideal. It’s all right there, fast, easy to search, with fully customizable playlists.
So, then, what’s new with Sonos Beta 6.4?
Tap to Play – tap a song (on phone or tablet) and it begins playing immediately. Previously when you tapped a song, you’d be presented with a menu and would then have to choose an option. The menu is still there (look for the three dots), but this way is far more intuitive.
Non-Stop Next – I love this one. Seems simple, but really convenient. Click a random song on an album, and it will begin playing as expected. After it’s complete Sonos will automatically cycle through the album in order. Before you’d have to select the album first. Now it just knows to keep rolling. Nice.
Queue Protection – Sonos will now give you the option to save a queue before overwriting it should you select something manually to play. Also, a welcome, albeit minor, improvement.
And also in Beta 6.4: easier access to “Play All” and Shuffle, simplified room grooping, and triple tap for instant replay (handy for those times you just must absolutely listen to that latest track over and over and over again).
In my tests, these new features and subtle improvements all work as promised. The update refines an already impressive system, and gives us music fans that much more control over Sonos in a way that further reduces the feeling of there being some sort of fancy pants technology between us and our tunes.
Long live the flow!