In 2017, Ikea and Sonos announced a landmark partnership to bring Wi-Fi “Symfonisk” speakers to Ikea. Now, we get a first glimpse of the fruits of that labor. Ahead of the release later this August, Ikea shared photos of the product. And despite some pretty dramatic teasing, it’s–a speaker!
But unlike Sonos’s other speakers–which are either round, black cylinders, or have that melted-gummy candy shape that so many small speakers do–this one is a rectangular box, featuring a more living room-friendly, subtly thatched cloth pattern on the front. “This multi-functional speaker can be mounted on a wall or placed standing up or laying down in a bookshelf or as a solitaire, without compromising the sound quality or user experience,” Ikea writes. There appears to be no display and minimal buttons. It’s not quite stylish, like other Sonos speakers, but it’s perfectly inoffensive.
The Ikea/Sonos partnership has been hotly anticipated because Ikea is known for democratizing design–for bringing a sense of aesthetic to cheap furniture and home goods. Sonos, meanwhile, is a respected digital audio brand that’s been slowly bringing down its prices over the years, but still falls far short of inexpensive. Sonos speakers are prized for simple, multi-room connectivity. However, they start at $150 and go up from there. That’s not necessarily expensive as far as audio equipment goes, but it might be through the lens of someone buying bargain bin Ikea furniture.
Ideally, Sonos could bring technical audio know-how to Ikea. And Ikea could bring the benefits of scale and Scandinavian design to Sonos. However, Ikea still hasn’t published the price for Symfonisk. The design looks fine. But how Ikea is able to price the Symfonisk may determine just how ubiquitous the device becomes.