Rumour | Sony WH-1000XM4: Bluetooth 5.0 and 40 hours of battery life with NC on, but no aptX or aptX HD support?
It has been a while since we heard about the WH-1000XM4, the over-ear successors to the WH-1000XM3. While the former's appearance at the FCC last December prompted speculation that Sony would announce the WH-1000XM4 at CES 2020, that did not come to pass. However, now Anatel Certification, the Brazilian equivalent to the FCC, has offered several insights into the WH-1000XM4 ahead of its release later this year.
While The Walkman Blog stresses that the images below are of a pre-production unit and so do not reflect the "quality of materials" that will grace retail units, the WH-1000XM4 looks remarkably similar to the WH-1000XM3. The WH-1000XM4 appears to have a slightly thicker headband, but the button placement and overall design are identical to the WH-1000XM3.
Sony may have made big internal changes, though. According to the listing, the WH-1000XM4 will consume up to 2 W, which would make them significantly more efficient than the 8 W WH-1000XM3. Sony may achieve this drop in power consumption with a new Bluetooth chip. Last year's FCC listing suggested that Sony could be switching to a MediaTek chip, for reference. Reduced power consumption usually results in better battery life too, with one leaker claiming that the WH-1000XM4 will be rated for up to 40 hours of battery life with NC on, an improvement of 10 hours over the WH-1000XM3.
The listing also refers to a new "speak to chat" function. We are unclear what this could be, seeing as the WH-1000XM series already has Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Siri functionality. There does not appear to be an additional button for "speak to chat" either, but Sony could potentially implement this via the touch-sensitive earcup.
The switch to a new Bluetooth chip will allow the WH-1000XM4 to support Bluetooth 5.0, another step-up from the WH-1000XM3. Sadly, it also means the end of aptX and aptX HD support for the WH-1000XM series. Instead, the WH-1000XM4 will continue to support SBC, AAC and LDAC.
There is no word on pricing or availability yet. Last year's FCC listing did hint at a June release, though.