Apple Computer iPod Hi-Fi Speaker System | iLounge

Reviews

21

everyone made a big deal about the keynote, it wasn't a huge event, it was only a fun and new presentation with about 150 people who were invited,
people who were expecting the next huge thing were bound to be disappointed. it was a small event for a small release, its nice to have companies come and see the product and witness steve jobs talk about it, as he has great stage presence. The event was little advertised on apple, so of course it wasn't going to be huge, and topping off the last event of releasing intel products is a hard feat to beat. nothing amazing/revolutionary is likely going to come out anytime soon, apple has a busy road ahead still with the transition.
I am sure these speakers are pretty well made, although D batteries seem kind of old school, and i believe it should of had some sort of rechargable battery instead. Also the fact that they left out the wattage, but as it has high decibel output, 107 to be in fact, wattage probably wont play as big a role in the importance of the power output, as most home theatre speakers as lucky to put out 90 db.

Posted by pyrex on March 1, 2006 at 10:56 PM (PDT)

22

I have read all the comments here. I think most everyone is asking the question - why?. Apple is always the company that comes out with the next new thing, not just add to an already flooded market segment. There is nothing new or different about this product except it has an Apple logo. Apple is also playing outside of it's realm in my opinion. Bose, JBL, Harmon Kardon, Onkyo. etc. etc.... Why spend time, energy and resources playing in this sandbox? The point is that the iPod HiFi in not a standout product. Basically it's just a speaker.

Posted by slaurel on March 1, 2006 at 11:11 PM (PDT)

23

Just because Apple is "always the company taht comes out with the next new thing" doesn't mean all they do HAS to be revolutionary. If any of you are mac fanatics you are horrible ones. This isn't stupposed to make you scream OMFG. Hopefully that's what April 1 will be. This, was just a few fun things. So calm down, don't buy it if you don't like it. And if you do consider yourself a Mac Fanatic, don't ever question Job's judgement. And I don't work for Apple. ( wub pyrex)

Posted by MacWombat on March 1, 2006 at 11:31 PM (PDT)

24

you are all missing the point.
this is the first product apple has released in this category ever.
why would they spend millions to design from the ground up ONE speaker. everything is custom engineered.

wait for the other shoe.

Posted by david405 on March 2, 2006 at 12:23 AM (PDT)

25

Slaurel its not aware of all the other products like mouse, newton or even the technologies on all computers ever made from them. Of course they look the market and at least care what the consumer its looking, Apple dont try to impose products like Sony or Microsoft. MB you are too young or just one of those that cant see the true.

Posted by plokoonpma on March 2, 2006 at 3:45 AM (PDT)

26

All I can say is I made the switch to HiFI from my iPod.

I love music and the MP3 compression does my passion a HUGE injustice.

I then sold the iPod and bought a cheap no-name-brand MP3 player with 512MB RAM to listen to music on the bus to and from work.

Posted by ru55el on March 2, 2006 at 4:13 AM (PDT)

27

Originally I thought the iPod HiFi seemed ridiculous, but I have to admit now that I'm somewhat interested in it. If it sounds good, I will consider it. I would like a good sounding, at least semi-portable speaker system for my iPod. There's no way it's going to be HiFi, but it could and hopefully does sound good. I'll check it out at the Apple store, but that's not going to be a good listening environment. They ought to offer an in-home trial for it. The look of it to my eyes isn't that bad. It's nothing spectacular, but it doesn't look bad, and really I don't care that much about how it looks. Much more important is how it sounds. If it does sound good I can see myself having the iPod HiFi at some point.

Posted by sjonke in Maryland, US on March 2, 2006 at 6:46 AM (PDT)

28

I don't know why people are disappointed, sure it is not that big of a deal but I saw the unit yesterday, it is substantial looks good and sounds great. may be a bit over priced but it is not the "toy" products that I have seen to date and I will buy one when they get into stock.

Posted by billrice on March 2, 2006 at 8:37 AM (PDT)

29

Here's why people are disappointed: Apple is better than this. We understand that they want to expand their iPod offerings and spread out in to the iPod accesory market (they just realized there's serious money to be made), but they have to know it's a lost cause if they are going to introduce products that offer no compelling reason to buy them over other products. Is the iPod Hi-Fi cheaper? No. Does if have features that other, comparable products do not? No. Does it even do the whole job well? No (i.e. location of attached iPod, detachable fabric cover on a "portable" device). We're disappointed because we know Apple is capable of so much more. (oh my god, I sound like my mother! quick, where's my Xbox!? must.. start... slacking.)

Posted by marcintosh on March 2, 2006 at 11:02 AM (PDT)

30

I think this product needs to be viewed from a larger perspective. If someone walks into an Apple store and wants to establish a home stereo, or maybe expand into a bedroom or something, Apple wants to have a complete solution they can offer. They can say, here, you buy an iPod, an iPod case, an ipod Hifi. You're set with all Apple products.

If a person also wants computing, they can ask - do you have a TV in the room? If so, you can use the Mini, if not, the iMac is a good solution. And guess what - the Mini, or iMac, or iPod all can use this iPod Hifi for sound output. Convenient.

The point is that for a blank slate customer, Apple is offering complete solutions. Apple doesn't control Bose products, or JBL - with the Hifi, they control the product and can offer it as part of an all-Apple solution. And don't underestimate the number of blank slate consumers there are - every time I go to the Apple store I see at least 2 or 3 people in their 40's who don't have anything and are looking to go Apple for a solution.

I am a sophisticated Apple user and I don't just buy everything they put out there - I carefully evaluate. But I will tend towards Apple products, even at a slight premium, given a choice. When I add sound to my bedroom, the iPod Hifi will definitely warrant a listen.

Last point - college kids. Every high school kid with an iPod that goes away to college is going to plead for and most likely get one of these as a going away present. It's a perfect solution for dorm room living, and paired with a shiny new iMac is pretty irresistable.

Posted by ddelruss on March 2, 2006 at 12:02 PM (PDT)

31

The biggest problem with this is that it's WAY overpriced (like Bose). If they really wanted to sell these babys (and make it worthy of holding a live press conference), they should've: A) included AirPort Express/Airtunes capabilities built-in (to make it more like a Sonos); B) given it the ability to recharge rechargeable batteries when plugged in (like the Tivoli iSongbook); and C) moved the handle to somewhere in the center so that the iPod wouldn't fall out if you wanted to move it with one hand. As it exists right now, I wouldn't pay more than $175 (shipped) for it.

Posted by Jonesy in NoHo, CA on March 2, 2006 at 2:32 PM (PDT)

32

I like the idea of audio-in port (not sure if the other brands offer this). I could possible see this used in my living room with my Sony portable cd player connected to it. Not all of my cd's are converted over to my iPod. If it sounds good I could thru out my cheat sony cd changer\radio (cd changer is broken)

Posted by miles4n4 on March 2, 2006 at 2:46 PM (PDT)

33

...but it was evident in each of Appleā€™s four demo rooms that the Hi-Fi is capable of revealing flaws in compressed audio - good for audiophiles, perhaps less so for average people or those accustomed to iTunes Music Store downloads

Actually, an 'audiophile' would've never went here to begin with, since lossy content as compressed as 128k generally isn't in their vocabulary or is anywhere close to their level of tolerance to begin with. While I've found that most 128k bitrate files are perfectly acceptable through most portable cans and buds, running them through any decent set of speakers AND amplification has always been a trying experience.

However, I would think that this revelation is a good thing for everyone else who has no such pretense, because if nothing else it could harken demand for better quality downloads from iTMS. 128k bitrate files ARE INDEED the industry's dirty little secret that's plainly out in the open for anyone to hear, if only they'd opened their ears to the truth. But even if it seems Apple might be shooting themselves in the foot with the Hi-Fi's level of SQ, I'm guessing most people who buy these still won't care to really listen anyways, because to them being a part of the iPod universe goes well beyond the triviality of mere sonic quality (Cases, skins and remotes...oh my!).

More's the pity *sigh*.

Posted by flatline response on March 2, 2006 at 2:56 PM (PDT)

34

HEY! What happened to the paragraph breaks???

Posted by flatline response on March 2, 2006 at 2:57 PM (PDT)

35

"And if you do consider yourself a Mac Fanatic, don't ever question Job's judgement."

Everything that is wrong with Apple as a company can be traced back to people with that exact attitude. WHat an utterly ridiculous thing to say.

Posted by stark23x on March 3, 2006 at 3:33 AM (PDT)

36

Thanks for the review. If you are looking for a room-filling experience (and not a close range one) and you carry and big wallet around, you might try the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound1.

It's not an iPod speaker system, but hooking up an airport express to it (hey, you've got a big wallet, so who cares) will blow anything away, guaranteed.

I wonder which manufacturer has codeveloped the iPod HiFi; somehow I find it hard to believe that Apple did it all by itself.

Posted by tennapel on March 3, 2006 at 5:10 AM (PDT)

37

The world did NOT need another simple, basic, no-frills white-colored speaker system: there is no shortage of those, and this brings nothing new to the table. Apple should have introduced integrated airport express functionality, and included a video out. Then this could have been interesting. Better yet, they should have tried to move into the Sonos market. But as it sits, this is just $349 I need not part with.

Posted by Gitzman in Chicago on March 3, 2006 at 5:58 AM (PDT)

38

Useful review, Jeremy.

It sounds like the HiFi is really a first attempt to go after the home listening room experience, not the portable speaker or computer speaker market. Time will tell how this works.

I agree with the writer above who suggested that having a built in Airport Express and capability to charge batteries internally would add to the appeal.

One simple question: doe the HiFi have a universal power supply, ie, one that works 110-240V? For people like me (13 years, 3 countries) moving hifi systems is a real chore, and a multi voltage unit is wonderful.

Keep up the good work. Jeffrey Harris

Posted by jhh112 on March 3, 2006 at 7:31 AM (PDT)

39

I kinda think they'll sell a lot of these in dorm rooms, where kids just have laptops.... it's a good option for your kid who's heading off to college and leaving the desktop or stereo at home. But why not have a tuner in it so that it can really replace a bookshelf stereo?

Posted by Amighty on March 3, 2006 at 7:32 AM (PDT)

40

not sure about the video out complaint. this is NOT a shielded speaker, so i wouldn't advise placing this on top of or next to TV. so why have a video out?

also, the HUGE advantage this thing has over the SoundDock is the audio in. so i can stream music to it in my bedroom and get rid of those old Advent monitors i have sitting up there w/ wires all over th place.

i'll have to listen to it first & see if the drivers really warrant the price tag, though...

Posted by sinisterdesign on March 3, 2006 at 7:35 AM (PDT)

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