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Bowers & Wilkins Updates Iconic Zeppelin Speakers with Alexa and AirPlay 2




Bowers & Wilkins has announced a new Zeppelin speaker that updates its eye-catching design with the latest connectivity and smartness. The new speakers support wireless standards such as Qualcomms AptX Adaptive and Apples AirPlay 2, and also include Alexa for voice control of music. The new Zeppelin is available today in light or dark gray and is priced at $ 799/699/6799.

The original Zeppelin was one of the most iconic iPod docks available when it was launched in 2007, and has been updated several times over the years as the way we listen to music has changed. While Zeppelin Air in the 2011s added support for the Apples AirPlay standard in addition to the existing 30-pin dock, the 2015 Zeppelin Wireless has fully docked to focus on wireless connectivity using standards such as AptX Bluetooth and Spotify Connect. Removed (but wired option).

There is no wired input for music sources. Image: Bowers & Wilkins

However, with the new 2021 Zeppelin, B & W is now completely wireless. There’s a power socket and a USB-C port on the back, but the latter is just for service, not for connecting music sources. Instead, Zeppelin is a complete wireless standard, including B & W’s own music app that provides support for streaming services such as AAC, SBC, AptX Adaptive Bluetooth codecs (excluding AptX Lossless), AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Deezer and more. Supports suites. Qobuz, and Tidal. Chromecast support is not built-in. You also cannot use the Google Assistant with Alexa.

If you want to use Zeppelin as part of your multi-room setup, B & W says it plans to add support early next year. With the release of this feature, users will be able to pair multiple Zeppelins with existing B & W lines of connected formation speakers. Or, if you’re using iOS, you should be able to achieve a similar setup thanks to Zeppelins support for AirPlay 2. Don’t expect two Zeppelins to be paired as a stereo pair. According to B & W, the multi-room feature is designed to provide stereo sound per zeppelin.

Two tweeters, two midrange drivers, and a subwoofer. Image: Bowers & Wilkins

Internally, the new Zeppelin has a pair of 1-inch tweeters, two 3.5-inch midrange drivers, and a 6-inch subwoofer with a total of 240W amplification. It doesn’t have a remote control like the previous Zeppelins, but it has a set of physical playback controls on the back of the speaker (although it doesn’t have Alexa’s physical off switch).

In the days of the iPod dock, Zeppelin was one of the most desirable all-in-one speakers on the market. However, since then, multi-room audio and smart speakers have taken over, so Bowers & Wilkins feels like they’ve lost to Sonos and Amazon. With the new Zeppelin, I’m sure the company wants to reverse that trend.




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