Sonos may have cracked Wi-Fi headphones

The rumoured first set of Sonos wireless headphones could rely on Wi-Fi to connect to the playback device, getting around the audio giant’s ardent dislike of Bluetooth.

Digital Trends has taken a closer look at a patent granted last year, which suggests the company may be looking for a way to integrate Wi-Fi into the fray, just like the company’s vast array of popular multi-room speakers.

Traditionally, headphone makers have eschewed using Wi-Fi because it isn’t as power efficient as Bluetooth and would require an increase in weight to maintain the same battery life. However, should Sonos get around the technical challenges, it would open the door to true lossless audio content without the need for wires. Bluetooth, by comparison, just doesn’t have the bandwidth to manage it.

Judging by the patent filed in Germany, Sonos is exploring introducing wireless internet connectivity to by pass those limitations.

One (translated) sentence reads: “…a consumer expects from Wi-Fi-enabled headphones the same type of reliable internet connection to their wireless access point that they experience when using a tablet”.

The patent itself is called “Cable retraction mechanism for headphone devices” and pertains to the extra engineering required to bring of Wi-Fi antennae to a set of headphones.

As Digital Trends points out, adding Wi-Fi connectivity with any considerable range, would require an antenna in both ear cups. Otherwise the signal would need to pass through the wearer’s head on occasions. This would require a different hidden cabling system running between the earcups. It would be crucial to ensure this cable is protected when the headphones are folded and unfolded.

The patent continues: “…a cable assembly containing each of the required conductors for the improved wireless headphones discussed in the examples described herein may be greater than 4 mm in diameter. This is almost twice the diameter of a typical headband cable in a Bluetooth-only headphone.”

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