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iPod Hi-Fi speaker system unveiled

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2006
News Categories: iPod Accessories

imageApple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPod Hi-Fi during today’s special event at Apple’s Cuperinto headquarters. [Live coverage] The high-end speaker system delivers “breathtaking acoustic performance and room-filling sound unlike any other speaker system designed for the iPod in an innovative, all-in-one design.”

The iPod Hi-Fi, which can be powered from a wall socket or by six D-cell batteries, features an integrated iPod dock and is controlled by the 6-button Apple Remote. It’s available starting today for $349.

Compatible with all dock connector iPods, the Hi-Fi charges your iPod while docked and offers Tone Control, Large Album Art mode and volume mirroring on fifth-generation iPods and iPod nanos. The device also features molded handles, a removable front grille, touch-sensitive volume control buttons, a built-in power supply (no external power brick), and a 3.5-mm auxiliary input. The Hi-Fi measures 17.0” x 6.6” x 6.9.”

“iPod Hi-Fi has been designed and engineered by Apple to deliver unrivaled sound quality, realistic sound imaging and optimal audio performance,” the company says. “Its clean, all-in-one design features a unique isolated enclosure system that includes two custom designed wide-range speakers and a tuned, ported bass system, minimizing vibration while maximizing sound quality and allowing users to listen to their favorite music as it was intended with amazing sound clarity and rich, deep bass.”

Apple also today introduced new Intel-based Mac mini computers. Available in a 1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo processor configuration and a 1.5 GHz Intel Core Solo processor configuration, the new systems feature Apple’s Front Row media software and a new music, video and photo sharing feature that uses the company’s Bonjour wireless networking technology. The new Mac minis start at $599.

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Comments

1

Holy crap.

Posted by JoshSpazJosh on February 28, 2006 at 12:51 PM (PDT)

2

Unfortunately, there is no A/V out and therefore it is no replacement for your home stereo system.  Just an expensive (even if well-built) speaker set up for the iPod.  If you already have a home stereo system, there is no reason not to use your iPod with that instead.  Why buy an extra set of speakers?

Posted by mr.facts on February 28, 2006 at 12:55 PM (PDT)

3

Even if it sounds good i wouldn’t get it. Not a classy apple look. Very disappointed.

Posted by ajm on February 28, 2006 at 1:04 PM (PDT)

4

that thing must weigh a ton judging by the size of them handles. yawn

Posted by m on February 28, 2006 at 1:14 PM (PDT)

5

Hmmm… they trying to say that my $5 Radio Shack mini-jack to component Y cable isn’t as good as a $350 speaker box?

Posted by ikelleigh on February 28, 2006 at 1:14 PM (PDT)

6

yawn..i already have an iHome..and it works perfectly fine, and is loud enough for me..plus it wakes me up..i dont need an expensive speaker system

i cant believe i got excited over this crap. i was expecting a new iPod *which im glad they didnt do* or something new with iTunes

Posted by Jesse on February 28, 2006 at 1:21 PM (PDT)

7

WOW! That thing is hideous.  Even if it sounds good… Not for me.  Was expecting more of a portable-boombox type of thing so I could take to a park or the beach…

Posted by notcool on February 28, 2006 at 1:28 PM (PDT)

8

There’s going to be alot of bashing of this and the $99 case, but here’s a quick defense of apple:

Apple has stated that they wanted to get into the “ipod economy” - i.e. the accessory market - more than they have been.  However, they also stated that they wanted to go to the “high end” so as not to canabilize the other ipod economy manufactuers (i.e. the $150 speaker systems and the $39 case manufactuers)  Thus, the $350 speaker and $99 case.  Basically, apple has said - hey look at this - if you want our brand and a great ipod economy product (of course this is still tbd) you have to pay a bit more.

Anyway…bash away (i know one of my first thoughts was $350 for a speaker???!!! huh??? $99 for a leather case ??? !!!)

Posted by Dan Hamilton on February 28, 2006 at 1:30 PM (PDT)

9

Oh my Lord, this has to be the most hideous thing I’ve EVER seen.

Why oh why oh why oh why would anyone want to buy this monstrocity?

Orb.

Posted by The Unwinking Orb on February 28, 2006 at 1:33 PM (PDT)

10

How many watts this ipod i-fi?

Posted by zakkone on February 28, 2006 at 1:34 PM (PDT)

11

A truely boring design. A large white box with the iPod sticking out oddly on top of it. Looks ugly and one of the worst designs Apple has come out with in a long time. Priced way more expensive than other speaker systems out there including the Bose SoundDock. How can anything be more expensive and overpriced than a Bose speaker? Plus, Apple is a few years behind on creating a speaker system. I figure this won’t be around for more than a year before it gets dropped or redesigned.

Posted by PS on February 28, 2006 at 1:39 PM (PDT)

12

Count me in as another who thinks this thing is a joke.

1. Too big.
2. iPod on top doesn’t look sturdy. They should’ve made the iPod dock in some kind of flush manner.
3. Too expensive.
4. Not unique—just another speaker set up.
5. All the iPods functions should be able to be controlled by buttons on the surface of the Hi-Fi (not just the volume).
6. Six D-cells weigh a ton. The D-cells also charge the iPod—expect them to last about an hour.
7. Should have regular RCA analog inputs along with the optical digital input. Most laptops don’t have an optical audio output—heck most desktops don’t either.

Even if it sounds like a million bucks, I’m not paying $350 for it.

Posted by Talking Madness in Los Angeles on February 28, 2006 at 1:41 PM (PDT)

13

Is it just me or does that thing look really 1970’s? It seems like you should sit in front of that thing on bean-bag chair and listen to Grand Funk Railroad.

Posted by perrinjcat on February 28, 2006 at 1:41 PM (PDT)

14

Well there’s probably a good chance it’s going to sound better than the Bose Sound Docks since Bose is really overrated and overpriced.

Yeah it’s about 17 inches long and 17 pounds with batteries.

Maybe too big to be portable.

I guess it’s the Logitech mm50 for trips and the iHome for the bedroom for me.

Posted by wco81 in West Coast on February 28, 2006 at 1:45 PM (PDT)

15

My $30 Sendstation line-out and $100 Cambridge Soundworks speakers make for great portable listening. I certainly couldn’t justify Apple’s price tag for a single speaker that would probably lack seperation.

Plus, it certainly isn’t innovative based upon the speaker systems for the iPod already on the market.

Posted by MetalManCPA on February 28, 2006 at 1:47 PM (PDT)

16

The real question for the marketplace will be: does it stack up favorably to the Bose Sounddock? Whatever one’s opinion, that is the unit to beat.

I agree that my initial impression of iPod Hi-Fi was “what a big box!” On the other hand, if it delivers in the sound department then Bose has already demonstrated that there is ample market space for such a product - ditto for Klipsch.

Sure, we can claim that plugging our iPods into existing stereos is sufficient (that is what I do) but the heated sales of separate speakers for iPod say otherwise. Little units like iHome don’t really count to Apple - too cheap, only adequate for a very small (i.e., bedroom) environments. Apple is shooting for Bose/Klipsch territory.

Frankly, $300-$400 for decent sound is nothing for most enthusiasts, and certainly not a concern for me; I paid $300 for my first iPod and lord knows how much on accessories and subsequent iPods, so I have already demonstrated my willingness to spend that kind of money for something I really enjoy. Discussions of cost are moot except for the bottom end, and that is not where iPod Hi-Fi will play.

If it sounds good, expect to see substantial sales. This is a safe move for Apple, the way has been cleared by others.

Posted by BradPDX in Portland, OR USA on February 28, 2006 at 1:49 PM (PDT)

17

I don’t doubt that Steve & Co used high quality components, or that this thing will work very well.  The iPod remote and relative simplicity of the thing lend themselves to a New Idea for home stereo (single input component with a single path) that is very similar to one I’ve been pursuing for some time with a set of Advent studio monitors connected to an iPod Dock.  In a post-CD age, this is an idea whose time has come.

However, I am highly skeptical.  My Advent monitors, which also clocked in around $350, feature 8” woofers with a high quality silk dome tweeter and a linear stereo sensitivity between 30 Hz and 22KHz.  Steve was talking about lower lows and higher highs, but the specs say this thing bottoms at 56 and tops at 16k.  Furthermore, depending on where the crossover point is on that centralized woofer we could be losing a LOT of stereo information by using this “audiophile” system.  My Energys, which also feature a 6.5” woofer, cross over at 2kHz (which is roughly the sound of the lowest harmonic of a high E string on a guitar, struck open).  I don’t know where the midrange speakers on this system will crossover, but a stereo that’s monaural for the sounds made by a guitar is NOT audiophile quality.

I’ll give it a listen, though.  Maybe I’m missing something.  Maybe Apple will invite me into its “rooms” (lol).

Oh, And Another Thing: I do feel sorry for the Applecore among us who treated this interim announcement as the second coming of Woz.  But if you didn’t believe everything they mockup on Slashdot, you wouldn’t get let down like this.  Steve said “fun new things,” and that’s exactly what we got.

Posted by dasmegabyte on February 28, 2006 at 1:49 PM (PDT)

18

Bose be afraid be very afraid

Posted by simple on February 28, 2006 at 1:52 PM (PDT)

19

No fm radio support. not interested.

Posted by czako on February 28, 2006 at 1:52 PM (PDT)

20

Oh well I guess I’ll just have to wait and see if my favorite Company, Apple will put out a new iPod next month. I really did hope that they would up grade the video iPod with a bigger screan. Also I think that this speaker thing that Apple put out is just a bit ugly. I do like the Mac mini and I just might go get one.

Posted by TriMetFan on February 28, 2006 at 1:53 PM (PDT)

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