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Bluetooth speaker accessories

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Q: I am looking for the best iPod Bluetooth connection between my iPod & my Apple iPod Hi-Fi docking player so that I can play my music wirelessly. I know that Belkin says they will be coming out with the Bluetooth iPod docking transmitter but that will be realesed sometime in September. I have looked all over and the only devices I have found are iPod transmitters that will transmit to a Bluetooth headset or cell phone. Do you know of anything available right now or should I just wait?

- Aaron

A: Two good options in this area are the Belkin TuneStage 2 (iLounge rating: B+) and Griffin Bluetrip (iLounge rating: B+) which are both available now. However, these options do not use the Dock Connector and therefore require a separate unit to be attached to your speaker system via a normal audio cable, as well as requiring a separate power connection.

At this year’s Macworld Expo, Belkin announced their Bluetooth Dock Adapter for iPod, which received an iLounge Best of Show award for Innovation, and iSkin was previewing their Cerulean TX+RX Stereo Bluetooth Transmitter and Receiver (see our First Look here).

Both of these devices should be available relatively soon, and have the advantage of fitting on the iPod Dock Connector on speakers such as the Apple iPod Hi-Fi, eliminating the need for additional cables and/or power connections. As neither of these devices have yet been released, we have not done a full review of them, however our initial experiences with them on the floor at Macworld were quite positive in terms of usability and sound quality as compared to similar devices.

At this point, the form factor would appear to be the major differentiating factor between the two devices. The Belkin Bluetooth Dock Adapter is the same size and shape as a 5G iPod, meaning that it will be more effective for use in speakers such as the Altec Lansing inMotion iM7 speakers (iLounge rating: A-), which are designed specifically to accommodate a full-sized iPod. On the other hand, the iSkin Cerulean receiver fits very nicely atop the Dock Connector on the iPod Hi-Fi speakers.

At this point both of these products look particularly promising, and we feel that it would certainly be worth waiting, particularly if you want a simple and portable solution for wireless Bluetooth connectivity to a device such as the iPod Hi-Fi.

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