Pioneer slashes AirPlay prices, aims at Bluetooth

When customers in the Apple ecosystem shop for wireless speakers, the biggest consideration is whether to go with Bluetooth or AirPlay. And the argument has long gone that AirPlay’s decided advantages—higher-quality audio and longer, Wi-Fi-based range—come with one significant disadvantage: AirPlay speakers cost substantially more than their Bluetooth counterparts. But it appears that Pioneer is looking to change that.

The company recently dropped the price of its XW-SMA1 speaker from $299 to $149, while the prices of the XW-SMA3 and XW-SMA4 (which we’ll be reviewing in the weeks ahead) have similarly been cut in half from $399 to $199. (These changes aren’t yet reflected on Pioneer’s website, where the latter two speakers are still listed at $399.)

A Pioneer representative told Macworld that the company wants its AirPlay speakers to be price competitive with Bluetooth models, and it hopes that these lower prices will help consumers better appreciate AirPlay’s advantages.

In the airline industry, when one company drops prices, all its competitors follow suit. If Pioneer ends up starting a similar trend here, and the other big AirPlay-speaker vendors follow in its price-cutting path, Mac- and iOS-using consumers everywhere will be grateful.

Let’s just hope that some other company kicks off the revolution for naming AirPlay speakers.

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