Streaming music speaker manufacturer Sonos will take its redesigned controller app out of beta today, making it available for iPhone and iPad users for the first time. The app has been in beta for Android only since March, but today all of the mobile apps Sonos currently supports will get the update.
The biggest feature of the new app is universal search, a much-needed upgrade. With the old version of the app, you had to select the service to search before typing in what you wanted to find, which can be frustrating if you're not sure where a particular song might be. Sonos supports 38 different streaming music services, and the new app will show search results across all the ones you have enabled in a single view.
The look of the app has also been updated, following the flat design conventions that have taken hold on modern phone interfaces. The old app was had been criticised for looking old-fashioned, with Sonos leaving the design unchanged for years.
Album art is given more prominence in the new version, and features such as setting alarms, changing the music that plays in different rooms and managing playlists have been streamlined. On iOS, the app now hooks into Apple's VoiceOver, which lets you use gestures to control apps and reads out what's on the screen.
Today's update is only for devices running iOS 6 or above and Android 2.1 or higher. You should get a notification in the app when the update it available. The PC and Mac versions of the controller "will be available at a later date", Sonos told CNET. As for whether the company will support Windows Phone, it's "currently under consideration by the Sonos product team."
Competition in the speaker streaming space is becoming fiercer, with goliaths such as Samsung getting in on the act, cheap Bluetooth speakers forcing overall prices down and Apple's AirPlay an ever-present threat. So far, Sonos has managed to stay successful by making one of the easiest to use streaming speakers around. A successful app redesign is crucial to the company's ability to continue to attract new users without annoying existing owners by changing anything too drastically.
Below is a Sonos video on how it all works, showing the new design (there's also a Swedish version if you're interested). Let me know what you think of the new app in the comments.