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Sonos 5.0 software hits the app store with many new features

After a lengthy beta, Sonos has updated the iPad and iPhone controllers for its popular whole-house music system.

Version 5.0, now available from the iTunes App Store, features a new design along with some solid updates. A major addition is universal search, which means that searches for artists can now include subscription services as well as what is physically on your music server or in iTunes. Click the search icon in the top right corner of the menu to search for a track to discover all the versions across various services including live performances, remixes and covers.

Sonos has also added Now Playing Shortcuts; touching the info button can add tracks to playlists, save to favorites and more. It's also possible to easily turn on shuffle, repeat, cross-fade or set timers at the bottom of the Now Playing window.

Playlists have also been significantly enhanced. You can blend tracks from Beats Music, Spotify and your iTunes library, all into the same playlists. To add to your playlists, you can select track info in the Now Playing screen, then manage the tracks in the menu.

I had early access to the software and used it with my Sonos system for several weeks. It's a good update, with no real downsides. There is less need to tap around in nested menus, and the app is responsive on my iPhone and my iPad. There are a lot of other nice touches, like more control of your system configuration, and swiping gestures that take you from the Now Playing screen to the last screen you were on.

Sonos hasn't given any word yet on an update to the OS X app, which still retains the old design and features. It's coming, but no dates have been revealed yet.

The Sonos iOS app is universal, and requires iOS 6 or later. It is optimized for the iPhone 5.

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