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IFA 2018 Sony Preview (Update 3)

End of August means IFA and new tech goodies.  Sony will be holding their annual IFA press conference on August 30th, at 13:00 local time.  Last year we got a bunch of new gadgets from the audio division, 2 walkmans and a plethora of wireless headphones.  So what can we expect this year?  So far we are looking at 1 new Walkman, 3 wireless headphones, and hopefully some surprises.

Any updates will be posted near the top of product posts.  The press conference will be broadcast live, the link can be found here. Or just watch it below:

Here are the times for various time zones:

Los Angeles, US: August 30th, 04:00
New York, US: August 30th, 07:00
London, UK: August 30th, 12:00
Tokyo, Japan: August 30th, 20:00
Melbourne, Australia: August 30th, 21:00

On the IFA website the description (see below) of the Sony Press conference has the following, "some kind of exclusive booth unveiling".  I am not sure what this entails but perhaps this is just an unveiling of the booth or some exclusive product unveiling.  If the latter, than I feel we are looking at something TV or smartphone related. There might be a tablet coming but the FCC post could just be something else.


Ok so let's begin with the A-Series. I have very little information regarding the new A50 except that we should expect a new design, thinner and taller, which is welcome. Colour options could follow the new WH-1000XM3 or offer yet again 5 options like in previous years.  There is a hope that Sony may include a usb type-C port, like the new DMP-Z1 but  this is just speculation at this point and not confirmed.  A USB type-C would be great but would render any old WM-port accessories incompatible, although any actual accessories are non-existent outside of Japan.  Sony could also add support for USB headphones but I do not believe Sony has launched any USB-only headphones, at least not in the last 2 years.  Finally balanced output would be nice but I doubt we will see it on the A-Series and therefore will be limited to higher end Walkmans.
Photo of the label of the Sony NW-A50 Walkman


Update:  I can reveal exclusively that the new WH-1000XM3 will be using a new HD Noise Cancelling processor, the QN1. Seems like the QN1 is 4 times more powerful than the old chip in the WH-1000XM2 and is able to "process sounds at 32 bits and separate power between the DAC and amplifier".

The guide leaked back in late July, and just earlier this week the first official photos from a retailer, but I had to remove the post on Sony's request.  The redesign while hard to see at first glance is quite extensive, the edges are now more softer and rounded, the headband has a different shape as do the cushions.  The mark 3 feature a USB type-C port for charging.  I do wonder if Sony will add audio over USB with future updates for use with Sony Xperia smartphone but unlikely.  Two colour options, black and silver although the silver looks more like a lighter tone from last year's gold colour.  A nice touch are the new colour accents, copper on the black and golf on the silver, would be great to see these kinds of little details on Walkmans for example.

Bluetooth has been upgraded to 4.2 from 4.1, perhaps BT 5.0 is slated for next year's lineup.  Battery life is less than previous year's model but this may actually reflect more accurate real world battery life vs what is usually written on paper.  The weight has also decreased down 20g to 255g.  Pricing is expected to be the same as last years MSRP, so $349,99 USD, 380 Euros or $449.99 CAD.  You can check at a quick visual comparison here.  There was a video that leaked earlier of the new WH-1000XM3 but was taken down very shortly after but it seems a new tag line will be coming with the headphones.


Update: We are looking at a device similar to the SP700N, 3 colours, black, white and yellow/biege.  The charging case is larger than the SP700N's and the wireless buds load vertically not horizontally.  In addition looks like the charging case has USB type-C.  So maybe the new A50 will also get USB type-C.  The SP900 will be mainly targeted at active people, so swimming, running, etc.

The SP900 is a mystery.  They appear to be a higher end model than the SP700N but do not offer noise cancellation.  Not sure why Sony would not include NC on a higher end model but we will know soon enough.  Some sites are saying they will include NC but I am not sure they will if we go by the model name.  Interestingly enough, there is no US FCC entry for this model, only the above for Korea.  Being a sports model, I suspect we would be looking at an IPX4 rating for splash resistance.  The question of which Bluetooth version the SP900's will support is unknown.  The WF-SP700N and WI-1000X both use Bluetooth 4.1 and use Qualcomm's CSR8675 which has support up to 4.2.  If Sony decides to reuse the CSR8675 chip, then we are looking at BT 4.2 support at most, but if Sony decides to use the new QCC302x/QCC303x, then we would be looking at possible BT 5.0 support.  There is also the possible of Sony using the QCC5100, the more premium oriented SoC with BT 5.0 but again that could be for some high end only headphone models.  Using the new chips would help increase the battery life for sure which would be a big plus.


The C600N look like a more upscale C400 with noise cancellation.  I wrote a post about the wireless headset back when it hit the FCC, so check it out for all the details.  We are looking at a device which should slot between the C400 and H700 with regards to pricing perhaps around 99 to 129 euros, and colours might follow the A50 Walkman lineup.  If anything the C600N could just be the WI-SP600N but in a different body, both the C600N and SP600N feature an NC/ambient function. Bluetooth should be 4.2, hopefully 5.0 but if it is sharing parts with the SP600N, then we are looking at the CSR8675 again so maximum BT 4.2.


In a previous post I mentioned 2 other Walkman models, the ICX1291 and ICX1300.  I still have no information what these are or they are even models for this year but if they are, then that means one is the A50 and the other another Walkman model.  I will be able to confirm this once the A50 is released.


Update: I can exclusively reveal, even though it was expected, Sony will be announcing the MDR-Z7M2 at IFA 2018.

Sony introduced the MDR-Z7M2 earlier this month for the Asian market but there has not yet been any information regarding availability for other regions. Pricing could be around $700 USD, but that is based off he price from Sony Hong Kong.  The headphones go on sale in Asia in September so I feel it would only be natural to announce them at IFA for other markets around the world.

Sony Signature Series

Update: Sony will be bringing both the DMP-Z1 and EIR-Z1R to IFA for their international debut.

Introduced at the HKAV Show, the new Signature series includes the IER-Z1R and DMP-Z1. If announced at IFA for the rest of the globe, both will be super expensive and limited to certain key markets.  From the poll earlier in the month, it seems most people were interested in the MDR-Z7M2 than any of the other devices from the show, so perhaps Sony might ship the Signature series?  3 more days.

That is all the information I have, no doubt we will see other products from Sony, like TVs, Xperia smartphones and maybe even a tablet, but not expecting any surprises.

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