Soaker hoses are far from being obsolete. They are great for slow and steady water application
Soaker hoses, the forerunners of drip irrigation systems, are still quite useful for slow, steady water delivery to plants in rows. They're long tubes made of perforated or porous plastic or rubber,with hose fittings at one or both ends. When you attach a soaker to a regular hose and turn on the water supply, water seeps or sprinkles from the soaker along its entire length.
You also can water wide beds by snaking soakers back and forth around the plants; trees and shrubs can be watered with a soaker coiled in a circle around the plant. You'll probably need to leave soakers on longer than you would sprinklers; check water penetration with a trowel or soil sampling tube.
Soaker hoses deliver water to a rose bed. Mulch hides the hoses (but doesn't interfere with water delivery), aids moisture retention, and helps prevent the growth of weeds.