As Tipped New B&W Zeppelin Released, Network Version Next Year
As Exclusively tipped by ChannelNews in September 2021, Sound United owned Bowers & Wilkins has launched a brand-new iteration of the iconic B&W Zeppelin, instead of a dock this time it’s all about wireless speaker connectivity.
The famous iPod dock has gone, and the Zeppelin embraced newer technologies, for today’s streaming age with the UK sound Company describing it as the “smartest and most flexible Zeppelin” to date.
The Company has prioritised wireless streaming over wired connectivity. The new Zeppelin is compatible with AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth, there is also a USB-C socket for updates.
While AirPlay 2 offers multi-room functionality with other speakers supporting Apple’s wireless connection, Bowers will, in 2022, also add multi-room support (not inclusive of stereo pairing) for other Zeppelins and products within its Formation range.
The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin is iconic and was the must have loudspeaker back in 2007, and when linked with an original iPod or a USB device, delivered fabulous sound, the new product is tipped to be announced on the 14th of October 2021.
When it was first launched, a large number of people held the opinion that Bowers & Wilkins engineers were nuts!
Why would a company like Bowers & Wilkins launch a product to support a device such as the iPod; surely nobody using one would care enough about audio to buy a loudspeaker designed to deliver fantastic sound and which, let’s be frank here, cost way more than any of the competition!
Bowers & Wilkins proved the sceptics wrong.
Now a new sub $1,200 model has been released, instead of an attached iPod you will be able to stream 24bit audio to the device.
The original Zeppelin was incredibly stylish, cigar shaped it made a statement while also delivering great sound.
When it was conceived in 2007, the iPod was in huge demand and as consumers got fed up, listening to what was then 8bit music via a pair of white Apple headphones the guys at UK sound Company Bowers & Wilkins conceived the Zeppelin in their Steyning Research Establishment (SRE) in West Sussex.
Leading the R&D was the founder of the business John Bowers who was responsible for the Companies 800 Series speakers which were recently upgraded in Australia and Nautilus, and technologies such as the Diamond Dome Tweeters, Matrix and Continuum cones.
This iconic loudspeaker quickly changed the way people thought about digital music and proved that quality sound from an iPod was both possible and desirable.
Before the Zeppelin was conceived the guys at Bowers & Wilkins were thinking about why the iPod had to be limited to the types of files and the sort of speakers that people used it with at the time; there was enormous potential for better-quality files, and with the move to a USB connection, better quality output which could serve more capable loudspeakers.
The seed was sown, and an idea began to grow, and what we got one of the great speakers of that era.
For me this was the audio speaker that should killed off the Sonos speaker before it was able to get traction in the market.
Sonos was all about networking and a proprietary technology.
What was inside the Sonos speaker was wireless audio technology that had initially been developed at Intel.
It was also a totally foreign technology for audio Companies like Bowers & Wilkins who were renowned and still are for their two-channel audio and as such few two channel audio Companies attempted to try and deliver a similar network attach speaker because they did not have the people who understood networking.
Now that is about to change and what I can’t wait to see is the all-new Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin that has been specifically designed for a 24bit audio streaming era.
What I do know is that the design which has not yet been revealed, is equally as good as the old Zeppelin if not better with it’s discreet blue light under the base.
Bowers & Wilkins engineers believe that ‘form follows function’, and much of Zeppelin’s shape is based around sound engineering principles such as having as little baffle surrounding the tweeter as possible and removing straight sides in order to improve dispersion.
But the iconic look of Zeppelin had help from an amazing industrial designer in the form of Morten Warren and his team at design house Native.
His take on Zeppelin was so ahead of its time that even in the fast-moving wireless speaker arena it is still instantly recognisable and is a thing of beauty that throughout numerous iterations has not veered from its original concept.
For the sales & marketing guys at Bowers & Wilkins the big question at the time was whether there was actually a market for what was basically premium iPod dock?
The answer was an emphatic yes.
The amount of competitive products that were hastily developed and continue to appear is a testament to the success of the original Zeppelin.
The product was a knockout success.
People who may never have considered buying a pair of loudspeakers before were drawn in by the performance and design of Zeppelin. This trend has continued, and Zeppelin and the improved versions that followed continue to be praised and purchased throughout the world.