Sonos has today announced that this coming May it will end ongoing support for a number of its older products. These products include the popular Connect, Connect:Amp and original Play:5 (the full list of affected products is below).
The good news is that these 'legacy' Sonos products will not suddenly stop working. On the (as yet unspecified) date that support ends, they should continue to work exactly as expected. And, in fact, Sonos has confirmed that it will monitor and deal with bugs in the future, should they arise.
However, these products will no longer receive software updates or new features.
What does that mean in practical terms? Well, should a new and exciting music streaming service appear, it almost certainly wouldn't make it to these devices. Ditto any new streaming or wireless transmission standard.
What should probably be more concerning is the possibility that an existing streaming service could one day change something at its end that renders it no longer functional on these older Sonos devices. The sad fact is that you could one day wake up and discover that Spotify, Tidal, or any one of the myriad other services you know and love no longer works.
A further note of caution: newer products can also be caught in no-update limbo if they're part of systems that include any of the older devices on the list of those affected.
If you have, for example, a Sonos Beam in your lounge and an original Play:5 in the bedroom, after the cut-off date in May neither will receive updates or new features while they remain part of the same system in the Sonos app. The solution is to separate them and create two systems, but you'll no longer be able to synchronise audio throughout the house.
The alternative, of course, is to upgrade your older Sonos kit to newer Sonos kit, and the company is making that more cost-effective with its Trade Up scheme, which sees customers given 30 per cent off a new Sonos product when one of these legacy products is recycled.
For some, that won't be enough to assuage the frustration of perfectly good, functioning streamers being rendered obsolete, even if gradually so. But, in fairness to Sonos, every product on this list was launched at least ten years ago and discontinued at least five years ago.
Sonos has an excellent record of thoroughly supporting its products for many years after launch (an astonishing 92 per cent of the products it has ever sold are still in use today) – something that's a real rarity in tech – and it was perhaps inevitable that the day would come that some products would have to be left behind for the rest of the range to move forward.
Of course, some Sonos owners will still be bitterly disappointed. Perhaps the question of whether the whole exercise has been worth it will only be answered when the new features that the old products couldn't handle actually appear. Could one of them be support for hi-res streaming? Here's hoping.
And here's the full list of affected models:
All Zone Players (ZP80, ZP90, ZP100, ZP120)
Connect:Amp (sold between 2006 and 2015)
Play:5 (Gen 1)