Sony‘s iconic Walkman was an unintentional megahit.
The primary iteration of the moveable cassette participant was designed for Sony co-founder Masaru Ibuka, as a result of he needed to hearken to music on lengthy flights.
The TPS-L2, the primary mannequin, was then commercially released in 1979, and bought over 500,000 models in 1980.
When Sony celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the Walkman in 1999, it mentioned that “market watchers, and even Sony staff, had been skeptical in regards to the profitability of this new product throughout its growth”.
However these naysayers had been proved improper, and the Walkman’s breakout success, claimed Sony, turned it into “a brand new tradition icon” and “a social phenomenon”.
Since its preliminary launch, throughout all variations of the system, together with cassettes, CD, MiniDisc, and MP3, over 400 million models have been bought worldwide.
Now, 44 years after its delivery, and in the identical week that we be taught that cassette gross sales within the US grew 28% YoY in 2022 (by way of Luminate’s 12 months-Finish report), the Sony Walkman is again… as a hi-res participant for the streaming age.
Sony simply launched two new gadgets referred to as the NW-ZX707 and the NW-A306, which the corporate claims, provide “evolutionary sound”.
Music will be both streamed by way of Wi-Fi or downloaded to the gadgets.
The brand new Walkman gamers are supported by Android, and Sony says that you should use “your favorite streaming and music apps proper in your Walkman or hook up with a PC to entry your music assortment”.
Apple iOS compatibility isn’t talked about within the product description.
Each the NW-A306 and the premium NW-ZX707 use Sony’s Synthetic Intelligence-powered Edge-AI, and DSEE Final (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) which, the corporate claims, “precisely upscales compressed digital music recordsdata to increased high quality”.
Provides Sony within the product description: “The evolving algorithm now delivers even better advantages for CD-quality (16 bit 44.1/48kHz) lossless codec audio. Restoring acoustic subtleties and dynamic vary gives a richer, extra full listening expertise.”
The NW-A306 is priced at round $375. The value for the premium NW-ZX707 is 104,000 Yen ( round $788) and can solely be accessible in Japan initially.
Sony additionally says that as “a playful nod” the unique Walkman, the TPS-L2, the brand new participant options “a particular cassette tape person interface and screensaver” (see under).
The corporate provides that the cassette tape visible that seems on a person’s Walkman show will differ relying on the codec of the music they’re listening to.
Music Enterprise Worldwide