I was recently in my local IKEA in Elizabeth, New Jersey (45 miles) and I wasn’t surprised to see that the Sonos & IKEA Symfonisk display was getting rather dusty. When the Symfonisk wireless speaker range first launched, IKEA wisely set it up in the lighting department on the ground floor before entering the larger marketplace where you pick-up your larger furniture purchases. That created a constant flow of foot traffic and I noticed that the pile was never very high. A good sign.
When COVID struck New Jersey, both IKEA locations were closed and one could only purchase online and pray that it showed up eventually. Supply chain issues made normal 3-5 day deliveries from the Elizabeth or Paramus locations turn into 30-90 days if you were lucky. I’ve heard of similar issues in Canada, Israel, and Europe.
I have no issue with IKEA and I shop there on a regular basis. They get $1,000+ of my money each year for smaller items and it wasn’t even a question that our college-bound daughter was getting her dorm furniture there.
When stores reopened, I noticed almost immediately that the Symfonisk display was now along a sidewall near the elevators and stairs where customers do not linger. It felt decidedly like an afterthought.
We do not know how many Sonos & IKEA Symfonisk speakers were sold but it’s clear that the relationship is expanding with the announcement of the new Symfonisk Picture Frame WiFi Speaker.
The new flat-panel wireless speaker is designed to be mounted on any wall or setup on a shelf like a picture frame using its kickstand. It is not designed to let you fill it with your own pictures, but you can attach a range of interchangeable front panels in an attempt to best match the interior decor of your room. Reasonable.
An image of the Sonos & IKEA Symfonisk picture frame was inadvertently leaked online a couple of weeks ago and listed on the IKEA website for $199. The frame measures 22-inches by 16-inches and is 2-inches in depth. Not too small or too large.
There are two finishes to choose from: black and white.
The power cord is unusually long at almost 12-feet and can be hidden inside a cleverly designed rear panel.
As it’s part of the Sonos ecosystem, listeners can connect to more than 100 streaming services using the Sonos S2 control app — a major plus as it’s one of the best out there right now and you now have the ability to stream Qobuz as well.
The physical control buttons are located on the left side of the frame but most consumers will likely opt to control the speaker with the Sonos S2 app.
How many people will consistently wander over to the wall to adjust it while seated at the table or on a sofa? Zero.
Support for Apple AirPlay 2 is also part of the package. We suspect that Apple Music will get a lot playtime through these.
You can create a stereo pair with two of the panels and the power cords (super long) can be daisy-chained to reduce the amount of clutter. Very smart.
“By working together with the designers we were able to keep the thin edge of the picture frame while hiding a deeper acoustic volume behind it,” said Sonos senior principal product manager Sara Morris. “Together with a waveguide, this let us make big room-filling sound from what looks like a thin speaker.”
The Sonos & IKEA Symfonisk Picture Frame WiFi Speakers are not the first attempt at ‘wall speakers’ but certainly the first from two manufacturers as large as Ikea and Sonos with substantial distribution.
The proof will certainly be in the listening but we think there will be an audience for these speakers outside of the traditional in-wall/in-ceiling market that requires additional amplification and source devices. We also hope that IKEA and Sonos come up with more interesting looking speaker grille covers as we’re not overly excited by the existing artwork.
For more information: IKEA