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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

61

BUBBA: get with it. we’re in teh digital revolution here for one. Secondly, this isnt called a home stereo, or a radio reciever, if u want that, go out and buy it, this IPOD HIFI (yes, its meant only for iPod..suprise!)is not for you.
I’m sure you coudl ad the inline radio remote to the ipod and and then put an aux in lead form there to the back of the speaker…and bam, you have fm radio.
Common sense tell sme this. It also tells me that the argument of ‘OMGZ!!!!LOLZ!!!THIS SUCKS!NO FM RADIO!’ is a damn tired and void argument. This is apple. it shoudl be obvious no fm radio would be on it…*sigh*
Dan

Posted by Dan Nicholls on February 28, 2006 at 4:29 PM (PDT)

62

I would have to agree with 90% of the posters, what a piece of junk.  Aesthetically it’s crap. Who wants their ipod dangling off the top like that, looks ridiculous and cheap. It may sound great for a single speaker solution, but better units can be purchased for less money.  At this price point they shoud have included airport and made the speakers wireless wihtout an Airport Express or something.  Also a $99 leather case that costs less than $5 to produce in volume.  Have we all been given a stupid pill. Why not add a window so I can watch my videos without taking it out of the case?  When are they going to make the stuff we want to buy instead of milking us for features each release?  These announcements made Apple’s stock drop -$2.51 a share.

Posted by dggraphics on February 28, 2006 at 4:31 PM (PDT)

63

The product looks like it was designed during a lunch break 20 minutes before a deadline.  C’mon.  The drivers are apparently too big.  How do you get high frequency dispersion.  Inadequate connections obviously.  I hope Apple paid for lunch to get everyone there.

Posted by msb on February 28, 2006 at 4:42 PM (PDT)

64

Why is everyone so negative? I would like to see them come up with a better system. Anyone who has had the misfortune to sample the Bose offerings would realise how well thought out this product is. It is a premium portable Hi-Fi, Steve said the main aim was to optimise seperation, something very difficult to achive in a single unit. However the single woofer/twin midrange combines power with detail and seperation. It also works with all iPods and anything with a output including S/PDIF. The twin walled build makes it expensive and heavy but hey it will sound better than the Bose. All I have seen written from people who have heard it say it sounds very good. So why not appreciate the attention to detail rather than pointing out stupid flaws. I could say it wont reach 5hz but nor can my $1,000 dollar sub. And it cant fly abut the room, wow Ill miss that.

Posted by Peter Harding on February 28, 2006 at 4:43 PM (PDT)

65

Oh Apple!, What have you done?
Although the design is good, it lacks at least two factors wich would have make this product respectable and me get impressed:

-A/V, Supervideo signal out for watching slideshows or videos, that would have make this product really an integral part of an entertainment center.
-FM Radio integrated (they could have used the same “iPod built-in interface as with the apple remote for iPod)
-Enhanced full screen clock view option.
-Enhanced wake-up alarm function.

Let’s hope for a short time re-design.

Posted by Carlos on February 28, 2006 at 4:45 PM (PDT)

66

Based on the critiques posted here, iHome may have it right with their upcoming Boombox - portable, FM stereo, presets, iPod integrates into the unit, etc.. Audio may not be as advanced as the Hi Fi, but it may be what people want. We’ll have to see when they start shipping.

Posted by ikoolaid on February 28, 2006 at 4:52 PM (PDT)

67

Has anyone actually HEARD it? Nobody here can honestly say it’s a piece of junk without using it. End of story. If Apple’s goal was to create a high-end audio “system”, and the audio is, well… high-end, then they accomplished their goal. I wish all of you would stop expecting Apple to cure cancer every time they unveil a product. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. If you like it… hey cool… buy it.

Posted by Jason on February 28, 2006 at 5:06 PM (PDT)

68

These speakers would be better with aluminum cones. They would sound a little bit better, but would look a lot better.

Posted by LUKEA2 on February 28, 2006 at 5:11 PM (PDT)

69

53hz to 16khz is very respectable for a boombox.  Playing poorly ripped or highly compressed music, you may not want to hear all of the sonic artifacts above 16khz.

Think about it.

Posted by lighten up on February 28, 2006 at 5:33 PM (PDT)

70

Carlos, what do you find lacking with iPod’s built-in alarm? I consider it the best alarm I’ve ever used. You can even set up multiple alarms and switch among them with one click—one for weekdays, one for weekends, one for another time zone if you travel frequently, etc.

Posted by Rockr on February 28, 2006 at 5:35 PM (PDT)

71

This was such a let down. Where is the touch screen? Where is the 120 gig ipod? I am already full on my 60 gig. Where are the full movies on iTunes? How about an iPod/Blackberry

or an iPod that has a cell phone as well as it can work as a car radio faceplace so that people wont hold the phone when they drive? Steve !!! you are the bomb !!! but dang what a let down. And just one more thing… how about a real 2 button mouse ????? !!!!!

Posted by Shorty Mack on February 28, 2006 at 5:37 PM (PDT)

72

Very disappointing. The ipod should be integrated into the bounds of the main unit, so that you could if necessary, actually carry the thing around without pulling the ipod out. Make it protect the ipod while its in there. Put a handle in a convenient position so you could carry it to that picnic.

And how about a few extras, Apple? Why not build in an FM radio (and AM, for that matter). Give us an AV out. Hey, why not make that “menu” button on the remote actually do something, and be able to control play lists?

And how about making left and right speakers split up for stereo separation?

There’s oh so much that Apple could have done with this product, and all they’ve given us is the most boring lame brick of speakers imaginable. If they wanted maybe $100-$150, maybe. But for $350 I’d want a bit more effort.

Posted by Countach on February 28, 2006 at 6:07 PM (PDT)

73

I think the reason it’s extra-large is so you’ll have room to keep the ice, hot dogs and six-pack.

Posted by Kay on February 28, 2006 at 6:27 PM (PDT)

74

Disappointed - is what I am.  I spent last week auditioning iPod speakers.  I went everywhere and back again.  I spent considerable time at the iPod/MAC store.  Nice store, great products, intelligent service reps.  I came close to buying the Bose Sounddock, I liked the clean looks, and balanced rich sound.  But you know, there is no treble or bass adjustment, and the price is way high.  The Klipsch is nice too, good rich balanced sound, but still no bass/ treble adjustment.  So next to them was the Altec Lansing IM7.  It had beautiful bass, and the remote does have separate bass and treble buttons !  The price was lower, so much so that it seemed too good to be true.  I kept going back and forth,  I liked the Logitech MM5500’s, but the bass sounded weak at more than 6 feet away for my ears.

I told myself that I didn’t want to be sorry that I didn’t spend an extra $50 or so later on.  So, I sat on it for a couple days, went back, listened again…side by side…even used the same song on the iPod..an Alan Jackson song at that !  Later on the way home, I stopped by Costco and there was the Altec Lansing IM7 for $189.  I bought it ! 

Now that I have had it home for 3 days, I will tell you that for a small tabletop speaker system, it blows me away.  I am genuinely impressed with that sound, I have noticed no distortion, and I can even feel the table vibrate with the bass.  It might sound like I enjoy alot of bass, but it is a well balanced sound that I look for, but you need good bass ability to achieve that.

The IM7 has connections on the back such as the “S” video to plug into your tv for the photos or video you have stored on the iPod.  It also takes “D” batteries, 8 I believe, but I won’t use it for that. The remote could have greater distance, I get about 8 feet max out of it.

So, I think the iPod people and support industry will soon find their way into true “hi-fi”.  I think systems will be developed to either adapt to those beautiful speaker systems many of us now have, or new systems all together.  Imagine speakers that provide beautiful sound stage, clear channel separation, etc.  I envision a hand held remote, perhaps a radio frequency remote that mirrors the iPod screen, changes volume, bass, treble, forward, backward, changes playlists, changes music, to photos or videos, when connected to the TV.  I believe the technology is here now, but the industry has to put it all together.

So when I read the first take on the Apple offering and saw the photos today, I was very disappointed.  I am keeping my IM7 until the true “hi-fi” that I dream about becomes available.  Meanwhile, I am going to listen to a little Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Posted by Dave Wagner on February 28, 2006 at 6:31 PM (PDT)

75

There was a ridiculously bad response to the 5G iPod on these comment threads. . .remember? And they sold like crazy, and eventually most people turned around. Once they had *used* them.

You know, first time I saw this, I was like, “WTF? I want an alarm clock and more functions.” But do you want more functions from what is obviously a home stereo system? It’s a nice high-end speaker with an iPod dock; this is what it looks like it was designed to be. It looks nice *for what it is*.

Do you remember what the invitation said? “Check out some FUN NEW PRODUCTS.” FUN. I predicted this at the invite comment thread - definitely no new iPods. This invite was way more casual than the secretive, full-page-graphic ones for the Nano and the 5G iPod. And it was held in a smaller theater. The clues were there. If you got yourself worked up over something small that’s your fault.

Posted by JoshSpazJosh on February 28, 2006 at 7:04 PM (PDT)

76

im not disappointed, i dont have money to buy it.
it seems like half the posters on the page has a lot of money to burn up on crap for the ipod.
im happy with the crappy defult apple headphones and thats it.

Posted by Navas on February 28, 2006 at 7:08 PM (PDT)

77

Heh.

And here I thought they were going to announce something “innovative”. Speakers for the Ipod have been out for years. Heck, this thing costs more than the Ipod itself.

Smooth move, Steve.

Posted by gerper on February 28, 2006 at 7:21 PM (PDT)

78

Is it my imagination or is Apple runnig out of Ideas haven’t there already beeen 5 boomboxes for the ipod already.Jesus it iwas a surround sound system that worked with your tv and home theater now that would be an idea

Posted by Eric on February 28, 2006 at 7:29 PM (PDT)

79

Let’s see….

$30 Sonic Impact Class T amp
$20 Various cables, etc
$300 for whatever decent speakers you decide.

MUCH better than that weird Apple thinger.

I’ll stick with my iMmini + JBL Creatures/Mac Mini combo for travel/home use, thanks.

Now…to upgrade the Mac Mini or not…..

Posted by Chris on February 28, 2006 at 7:33 PM (PDT)

80

What was Apple’s inspiration for this monstrosity?  The Hindenburg? 

Oh, the humanity!

Posted by Obadiah on February 28, 2006 at 8:29 PM (PDT)

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