Bowers & Wilkins update the Zeppelin as the way we listen to music changes

Image Credit: Bowers & Wilkins

Bowers & Wilkins update their iconic Zeppelin speaker, but with new competition, can they still compete in higher-end smart speakers?

British consumer and professional audio company Bowers & Wilkins first introduced the Zeppelin in 2007. Originally sporting an iPod dock, the speaker has been updated several times to support the change in the way we listen to music, while keeping the familiar iconic design. In 2011 Zeppelin Air added AirPlay, then in 2015 the Zeppelin Wireless dropped the dock while keeping a 3.5mm input. Hoping to offer advanced features, aesthetic beauty and high-fidelity sound in one package, Bowers & Wilkins’ latest update drops all wired input options and adds Alexa for easy music control.

What hasn’t changed over the years is the unique, standout design. Zeppelin isn’t supposed to be hidden away in the corner. The speaker comes in Midnight Grey or Pearl Grey, featuring a fabric front, metal pedestal stand and dimmable ambient halo lighting underneath, its large design looks stunning in any setting, as long as you’ve got the space for it with a width of 65cm. Alternatively, the wireless smart speaker can be wall mounted using the optional wall bracket.

Also holding strong from previous generations is high-resolution stereo sound. The new Zeppelin packs a pair of 25mm double dome tweeters, two 90mm midrange drivers and one 150mm subwoofer. All in all, the speaker produces 240 watts to total power. The speaker supports Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and Bluetooth 5.0 with Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive codec, AAC and SBC. Note the speaker currently doesn’t support aptX Lossless or Chromecast.

Image Credit: Bowers & Wilkins

Use the Bowers & Wilkins music app on iOS and Android to organize multiple speakers into groups and integrate high-quality streaming services, radio stations and podcasts. Zeppelin can stream up to 24-bit/96kHz on supported services such as Deezer, Qobuz, TIDAL and more. Bowers & Wilkins says multi-room support is coming in March 2022, allowing you to share music between rooms with other Zeppelins or other B&W speakers. Don’t expect to hooked the speaker up to a turntable, as beyond power, the only connection on the speaker is USB-C for servicing only.

Image Credit: Bowers & Wilkins

One of the biggest new features is built-in Amazon Alexa support for easy music control and other smart assistance. Unfortunately unlike other smart speakers, Google Assistant isn’t present, so you may want to look elsewhere if you’re tied into the Google ecosystem. Otherwise Zeppelin can be controlled by the physical buttons on the back for adjustments to volume, play/pause and more, but no physical Alexa off switch. Unlike previous models, this year’s Zeppelin has no remote.

Image Credit: Bowers & Wilkins

Will Bowers & Wilkins be able to regain their title as the go to high-end smart speaker with new competition from the likes of Apple, Google, Amazon and Sonos? The premium speaker comes with a premium price tag of $799 and is available to order today on Amazon.

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