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Sony WH-1000XM4 shows up on the FCC, CES 2020 debut?

Sony WH-1000XM4

The Sony WH-1000XM4 has finally appeared on the FCC. In my previous posts about the recent FCC filings, I said that perhaps the Mark 4 might soon appear on the FCC, and it looks like that predication came true. Very little information is provided in the documents apart from the testing, so what can we expect from the new wireless headset? And when will it debut?

Bluetooth 5.0 is guaranteed, with a chance of 5.1 depending what Bluetooth chipset it uses (more on that later), NFC and noise cancellation are a given of course, along with USB type-C.

Codec support should be AAC, SBC, along with LDAC, but will Sony support Qualcomm's aptX? That depends if Sony will a Qualcomm Bluetooth chip. If Sony decides to go with something else, then do not expect aptX support but rather only LDAC. The recent products like the WI-1000XM2 and WH-H910N all lack aptX support though.

So digging into the FCC documents provides one piece of information, the Bluetooth software Sony used during the testing was WCN Combo Tool.

WCN Combo Tool

While I cannot find anything specific about software, this looks to be used for radio frequency testing of the Bluetooth device and for firmware updates. Below is a photo from the installation. The PDF file has a larger size of it, if one wishes to see it in higher detail.
WCN Combo Tool

The WCN Combo Tool installs with a Mediatek main directory, so I am guessing this might be one of their tools. Even this FCC filing shows the WCN Combo tool part of a Mediatek document.

So what does this mean? Well this might be a strong indication that the WH-1000XM4 is using a Mediatek Blueooth chip, perhaps even the MT2811. If not a MT2811, then perhaps something else. Not sure how this will go down with Sony's diehard fans since there is the opinion that Qualcomm is more of a premium chip and Mediatek less so. Would it bother you if Sony used a Mediatek chip in the new WH-1000XM4? Post your thoughts below.

One other device used this same WCN Combo tool software for testing, the WH-H910N from Sony.  The FCC filing can be found here.

Sony WH-H910N FCC

But unfortunately the internal photos for the WH-H910N do not provide any details which Bluetooth chip is used, and without a proper WH-H910N teardown, there is no way to know what Bluetooth chip it uses. EDIT, actually there is a way, and I am pretty sure I mentioned this in another post, specifically the WH-H910N one. The Bluetooth certification gives away that the WI-1000XM2, WH-H910N and WH-H810 all use the same Bluetooth chip, and since we know the WI-1000XM2 use the MT2811S, then so does the WH-H910N. The certification can be found here.

Of course this brings up the question, is the software tool Sony uses for testing/firmware upgrades an indicator of what Bluetooth chip will be used? Well the WH-1000XM3 used software called BlueSuite version 2.5.8. What is this? This is Qualcomm's Bluetooth software, specifically CSR, which Qualcomm now owns (1). This lines up nicely since we know the WH-1000XM3 used Qualcomm's CSR8675 and this could mean we will be looking at some sort of Mediatek Bluetooth chip in the new WH-1000XM4 and it could possibly even be the Mediatek MT2811 Sony has been using recently.

Going back to the possible version of Bluetooth, 5.0 is a given, but it could end up being 5.1 If the Mark 4 uses the MT2811 Bluetooth chip, then 5.1 support is possible since the MT2811 was certified with 5.1 not to long ago, see here.

So when will you be able to buy it? CES 2020? Or much later?

Well this one is a bit more trickier. With CES 2020 is coming up, there is a high probability it will show up there along with the rest of the new wireless products from Sony. There is a nice discount on the WH-1000XM3 right now on Amazon which could indicate the new model is coming soon.

Of course is there is a chance it will not be at the show. The WH-1000XM4 internal/external photos and manual leave short term confidentiality on June 1st 2020, the WH-1000XM3's date was August 31st, 2018, the same day as IFA 2018. Does this mean once the short term confidentiality ends, Sony will unveil the headphones? Thankfully this is not the case most the time and there have been many instances where Sony unveiled a new device and then the internal/external photos and manual appeared much later on the FCC.

So while I do hope the WH-1000XM4 show up at CES 2020, but if they do not, the June 1st 2020 short term confidentiality might be the reason why. Personally, I suspect we are looking at a mid to late Spring 2020 announcement with availability about a month later. Sony could easily pull a WF-1000XM3 and just announce the WH-1000XM4 out the blue, same situation with the WH-XB900N. One thing that worries me is that Sony will announce the new model at CES 2020 but sales will start much much later, say 2-3 months (or longer) after the show, this would be a bad decision and hopefully Sony will not do this. So a question, would a Summer 2020 availability date be acceptable to people?

Anyways, that is all for now, if I find out anything else, I will update the post. As always, leave your thoughts and comments below and if anyone knows anything else, please feel free to contact me.

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