Refreshed internals, lower price point possible.
Pioneer Drops AirPlay Speaker Prices, Now Competitive with Bluetooth Models
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 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.)Macworld spoke to a Pioneer representative, who said that the company is aiming to make its AirPlay speakers price competitive with its Bluetooth models, with the hope that lower prices will help consumers to appreciate AirPlay's advantages.
While Bluetooth has been a more affordable option for consumers, AirPlay has a distinct edge, offering a much longer range with the option of utilizing multiple speakers for a complete home audio experience.
Traditionally, AirPlay speakers have been priced higher than Bluetooth speakers due to the cost of licensing the technology from Apple. It is unclear if Pioneer is eating the additional cost or if Apple has made AirPlay licensing more affordable, but with Pioneer lowering the price of its AirPlay speakers, it is likely that other manufacturers may have to follow suit in order to continue to offer competitive pricing.