Forget AirPods Max — Sonos headphones just leaked

Sonos headphones
(Image credit: German Patent and Trademark Office)

The long-rumored Sonos headphones could be close to release, as a German patent filing has revealed an updated over-ears design.

It’s been months since we last heard of what would be Sonos’ first-ever pair of headphones. A couple of potential designs, as well as hints of certain features, emerged from a separate US patent filing last September. This latest filing, from the German Patent and Trademark Office, appears to show the Sonos cans with a more detailed, refined design. 

So this could be what it will look like when it launches, likely to challenge the best noise-cancelling headphones like the Bose 700, Sony WH-1000XM4 and the AirPods Max.

Notable design changes from the previous filing include a simpler headband yoke, a slimmer and more rounded earcup chassis and added Sonos branding. And, while exact measurements aren’t available, proportionally the new design appears to have larger earcup pads than the previous designs; this could be a move to improve comfort.

This patent adds further intrigue to a comment by Sonos CEO Patrick Spence on a recent earnings call, which revealed the company was gearing up to launch a new product “next month”: March 2021. 

Given the recent uncovering of a new Sonos speaker apparently related to the Sonos Move, and the relative radio silence on any Sonos headphones, it looked like the speaker could be coming first. Now, however, we could instead see these headphones release in March instead.

Something else this new filing calls into question is how much of the information from September on the headphones’ specs and features remains accurate. That U.S. filing detailed a very advanced pair of headphones, with two drivers for each ear, smart assistant functionality, active noise-cancelling and integration with Sonos’ signature multi-room system.

Since the design has apparently changed, it’s possible those features might have as well. Given Sonos tends to cater for the high-end market, don’t expect its first pair of headphones to be a stripped-down budget set. Stay tuned as we’ll know more about Sonos’ plans next month at the latest.

James Archer

James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.