iPod @ CES 2006 Part II: Early Announcements | iLounge Article

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iPod @ CES 2006 Part II: Early Announcements

iLounge CES 2006 Coverage Index:  » Part I - Diamonds and Coal: Commentary and Expectations  » Part II - Early Announcements from Alpine, Belkin, Shure, and more!  » Part III - From the Show Floor  » Part IV - Follow the iPod & Showstoppers  » Part V - Show Floor Report Day 2  » Part VI - Hitch, and the Rest of the Show

As promised, here are a collection of new iPod accessory announcements from the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. We’ll have considerable additional reporting from the show floor tomorrow.

Alpine: The aftermarket car accessory maker has announced the Full Speed Connection for iPod ($30, below), an iPod connection cable that is its “third-generation solution for integrated iPod use in the car.” Full Speed is promised to be 200% faster than the prior Alpine solution, providing full ID3 tag details through one of seven 2006 model year source units, which range from $200 to $1200 in price. Quick Searching and Percentage Searching features enable the iPod to be scanned quickly for files, the latter feature only available in four of the source units.

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Audio-Technica: The Japanese headphone and microphone developer has announced plans to release the Import Series, a series of Japanese headphones “available for the first time in the U.S.” All of the headphones have been on the market in Japan for some time, and are being sold in the United States at significant premiums. Models of most interest to iPod owners include the ATH-CM7 SV ($249) and ATH-CM7Ti ($299) earbuds, ATH-EC7 GM ($249) earbud/clip-on hybrids (discussed on iLounge in last month’s report from Tokyo) the clip-ons ATH-EW9 ($329), ATH-EM9r ($299), ATH-EM7 ($119), and foldable earcups ATH-ES5 ($169).

Belkin: Belkin is showing TuneFM ($50), the iPod FM transmitter previously highlighted in our Holiday Buyers’ Guide, and TuneBase FM ($80), the FM transmitter and car mount system featured in the same Guide. Newly announced is TuneCommand AV ($80), a docking station that provides audio-video output to a television set, and a wireless RF remote control with promised control distance of 120 feet. TuneCommand AV works with all Dock Connecting iPods via a system of replaceable trays, and provides eight buttons on its remote.

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The company has also announced the separate Belkin AV Cable for iPod ($20), which offers a 12-foot distance from your iPod’s headphone port or dock to a television or stereo system for audio and video playback.

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Denon: The home theater and audio company has announced two new S-Series all-in-one Home Entertainment Systems, models S-301 ($1599, shown below) and S-101 ($999), each providing 2.1-channel audio, “simple, convenient connectivity,” and iPod control. They are “complete and compact, featuring integrated DVD/receiver units with a stylish remote, dual satellite speakers and high-performance subwoofers,” complementing the company’s previously released AVR-4306 Home Theater Receiver, which included iPod integration.

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iPort/Sonance: iPort has unveiled iPort FS ($150 and up), a series of black or white “freestanding iPort music systems that let iPod owners stream audio and photos to their home entertainment system and sync with iTunes, switching between the functions at the touch of a button.” The company also notes separately that these docks, and its earlier ones, are compatible with iPod video streaming, as well. More deluxe iPort FS units “offer expanded benefits including the ability to control volume directly from the iPort itself, as well as the ability to view the iPod’s song, album, artist and playlist information on high-end touch-screen control systems.” The new iPort FS systems are planned for release this month.

Harman Kardon/JBL: iPod speaker maker JBL’s Audioaccess division has announced the Audioaccess iPod Docking Station (price TBA, release date this month), which as the name suggests is an iPod docking station for its W.H.E.N. (Whole-House Entertainment Network) multi-room residental AV system. The Station holds the iPod on a table, connecting via cable to the whole-home network so that you can hear iPod music anywhere the system’s speakers have been installed in your home. It provides power input and both audio and menu information output, so you can view iPod menus on an optional Color Audioaccess Touchscreen Controller (CATC) mounted elsewhere in the house. Intriguingly, an optional Audioaccess Control Server (CS-IP) will let you control your iPod and the system from a PDA, cell phone, PC, or other Web-compatible device.

JBL parent Harman Kardon also announced that its premium AVR 740 7.2-channel AV receiver ($3499) - the highest-end version of its previously debuted iPod-compatible home AV systems (AVR 140, 240, 340) will be shipping in February, with new 440 and 640 models at lower price points yet to be announced. An optional accessory called The Bridge, previously shown on iLounge, is required to connect your iPod to these systems, with an attractive on-screen interface appearing on your television screen upon connection. Your Bridged iPod can also be controlled with a new Activity Based Remote Control (TC30), which features an integrated color screen.

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Kenwood: The mobile audio company has announced KDC-X990 ($580, shown above), KDC-X790 ($350) and KDC-X590 ($260), new premium Excelon aftermarket car receivers with External Media Control, an integration system that lets the stereo control a connected iPod. X990 has a new 4,096-color Organic Electroluminescent display, and can make voice announcements of playlist, artist, and track data, while the lower-end models use less impressive displays and lack the voice announcement functionality.

Motorola: The maker of RAZR, ROKR, SLVR and PEBL is showing its most recent versions of each of these devices. ROKR E2, which as previously reported on iLounge no longer supports iTunes, appears to otherwise be a very significant improvement on the widely panned E1. A high-resolution display with all-new user interface, 1.3 Megapixel integrated camera, and terrestrial radio tuner are just a few of the new features, and the revamped black body looks less disposable (though thicker) than the prior model.

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We also saw and were impressed by the thin, RAZR-like MOTO Q, the company’s Windows Mobile-ready smartphone, as well as a variety of new Bluetooth monaural and stereo headsets. The stereo headset shown here is being shown as compatible with TEN Technology’s naviPlay (below), and JBL’s On Tour speakers are being used to demonstrate the musical output capabilities of certain new phones.

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Nyko: Video game and iPod accessory maker Nyko is showing off Speaker Dock II, an iPod-docking speaker system that runs off of wall or battery power and looks like a second-generation iMac; a separate pair of slick non-portable iPod nano-specific speakers that run off of battery power and include a remote control; and a pocket-sized combination of distressed leather iPod nano case and stereo speakers (not available for photography).

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The former two accessories will sell for under $100, and sounded generally impressive in our limited testing, while the latter will likely sell for under $50. Nyko also showed a collection of speaker-less distressed (“Vintage”) leather cases for the iPod nano (below). All of these items will likely be available in the very near future.

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Otter Products: Otter is publicly showing its OtterBox for iPod nano, which we’ve reviewed and very much liked (iLounge rating: A-).

Shure: The high-end headphone specialist has announced E500 ($499), “the new flagship for the award-winning E Series product line.” Like Ultimate Ears’ ultra-premium UE-10 Pro earphones, E500 uses a triple-driver design inside of a “tiny,” over-the-ear “comfortable new bronze metallic” enclosure. One tweeter is paired with two woofers, and external sound isolation is listed as 30-37dB with soft sleeves. A new Push-to-Hear modular accessory is bundled with each E500 headset, allowing users to “alternate between complete immersion in their music or [have] a connection with outside ambient sounds,” “activat[ing] an external microphone and mut[ing] the music.” The accessory will also be sold separately for other Shure headsets for $59. Both will ship in May, 2006.

Targus: The vendor of excellent prior-generation iPod RF remote control RemoteTunes (iLounge rating: A-) has announced RemoteTunes for iPod with Dock Connector ($60) and RemoteTunes TX for iPod nano - Wireless Remote and FM Transmitter ($80), both scheduled for release in March. As with the first RemoteTunes, these devices appear to be identical to new iJet offerings recently announced by ABT and shown on iLounge. The iPod nano RemoteTunes includes both a remote control and FM transmitter, while the standard RemoteTunes works with all Dock Connecting iPods, including the 5G version.

Targus also announced the 9-Pin to 30-Pin Adapter ($20), also for March release, which sounds identical to the accessory announced by ABT to convert old iPod top-mounting accessories into ones compatible with current model iPods. When connected to discontinued iPods, the Adapter also allows two top-mounting accessories to be used at once.

iLounge CES 2006 Coverage Index:  » Part I - Diamonds and Coal: Commentary and Expectations  » Part II - Early Announcements from Alpine, Belkin, Shure, and more!  » Part III - From the Show Floor  » Part IV - Follow the iPod & Showstoppers  » Part V - Show Floor Report Day 2  » Part VI - Hitch, and the Rest of the Show

« Using old top-mounting accessories on 5G and nano

iPod @ CES 2006 Part I: Diamonds and Coal »

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