As the exclusive tip from 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 about wireless speaker connection.
The famous iPod dock is gone, and Zeppelin embraces newer technologies for today’s streaming time with the British audio company describing it as the “smartest and most flexible Zeppelin” to date.
The company has prioritized wireless streaming over wired connection. The new Zeppelin is compatible with AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth, which is also a USB-C connector for updates.
While AirPlay 2 offers multi-room functionality with other speakers that support Apple’s wireless connectivity, in 2022 Bowers will also add multi-room support (not including stereo pairing) to other Zeppelins and products in its lineup.
Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin is iconic and was the must have speaker back in 2007, and when connected to an original iPod or USB device, it delivered great sound, tipping the new product announced on October 14, 2021.
When it was first launched, a large number of people were of the opinion that Bowers & Wilkins engineers were insane!
Why would a company like Bowers & Wilkins launch a product to support a device like the iPod; no one who uses one would care enough about sound to buy a speaker designed to deliver great sound, and which, let’s be honest here, cost far more than any of the competition!
Bowers & Wilkins proved the skeptics wrong.
Now a new sub $ 1,200 model has been released, instead of a connected iPod you will be able to stream 24bit audio to the device.
The original Zeppelin was incredibly stylish, cigar-shaped, it made a statement and also delivered great sound.
When it was conceived in 2007, the iPod was in high demand, and as consumers got tired of listening to what was then 8-bit music via a pair of white Apple headphones, the boys of UK sound Company Bowers & Wilkins invented Zeppelin in their Steyning Research Establishment (SRE) in West Sussex.
Leading the R&D was the founder of the company, John Bowers, who was responsible for the speakers in the Companies 800 series, which were recently upgraded in Australia and Nautilus, and technologies such as Diamond Dome Tweeters, Matrix and Continuum cones.
This iconic speaker quickly changed the way people thought about digital music and proved that quality sound from an iPod was both possible and desirable.
Before Zeppelin was conceived, the guys at Bowers & Wilkins thought about why the iPod should be limited to the types of files and speakers that people used with it back then; there was a huge potential for better quality files, and with the transition to a USB connection, better quality output that could operate more capable speakers.
The seed was sown and an idea started to grow and what we got was one of the great speakers of that era.
For me, this was the audio speaker that had to kill the Sonos speaker before it could gain traction in the market.
Sonos was all about networking and proprietary technology.
What was inside the Sonos speaker was wireless audio technology, which had originally been developed by Intel.
It was also a completely foreign technology for audio companies like Bowers & Wilkins that were famous and still are for their two-channel audio, and as such, few two-channel audio companies tried to provide a similar network speaker because they did not have that people who understood networking.
Now that’s about to change, and what I can not wait to see is the all-new Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin, specially designed for a 24-bit audio streaming era.
What I do know is that the design, which has not yet been revealed, is as good as the old Zeppelin, if not better with the discreet blue light under the base.
Bowers & Wilkins engineers believe that ‘shape follows function’, and much of Zeppelin’s shape is based on sound engineering principles such as having as little baffle around the treble as possible and removing straight sides to improve dispersion.
But Zeppelin’s iconic look had the help of a fantastic industrial designer in the form of Morten Warren and his team at the design house Native.
His perception of Zeppelin was so ahead of its time that even in the fast wireless speaker arena, it is still instantly recognizable and is a beautiful thing that through many repetitions has not deviated from its original concept.
For the sales and marketing guys at Bowers & Wilkins, the big question back then was whether there was actually a market for what was actually a premium iPod dock?
The answer was an emphatic yes.
The amount of competitive products that were rapidly developed and continue to be displayed is a testament to the success of the original Zeppelin.
The product was a knockout success.
People who may have never considered buying a pair of speakers before were attracted to Zeppelin’s performance and design. This trend has continued and Zeppelin and the improved versions that followed continue to be praised and purchased worldwide.
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