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) Comment 21

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) Comment 22

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) Comment 23

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) Comment 24

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) Comment 25

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) Comment 26

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 on March 2, 2006 at 6:46 AM (PDT) Comment 27

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) Comment 28

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) Comment 29

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) Comment 30

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 on March 2, 2006 at 2:32 PM (PDT) Comment 31

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) Comment 32

...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) Comment 33

HEY! What happened to the paragraph breaks???

Posted by flatline response on March 2, 2006 at 2:57 PM (PDT) Comment 34

"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) Comment 35

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) Comment 36

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 on March 3, 2006 at 5:58 AM (PDT) Comment 37

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) Comment 38

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) Comment 39

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) Comment 40

This has to be one of the most thought out, well written reviews I have ever read. Thanks to all the lads (and lasses) at iLounge, you guys are great!

Posted by MikeTCool on March 3, 2006 at 8:45 AM (PDT) Comment 41

Jesus... take a chill pill all u critics...

This is simply a SPEAKER system. How complex does it have to be ?? I think as ddeless aludes to, it simply fills out Apples product line to supply an APPLE product line to fulfull the general publics buying habits.

It will sell well, in spite of its price, and in spite of all the audiophiles complaints... because it is a viable option. Yes, there is better, and Yes, there is worse ! Use your descretion as a buying public. No one is forcing you to buy this product !

I for one and buying it. I have the feeling that it is more than adequate for my needs.

And, thank you iLounge for a GREAT review... It helped me make my decision between this unit and the Bose. You PRO's and CON's appear to be spot on to me...

Posted by Blanchman on March 3, 2006 at 11:55 AM (PDT) Comment 42

I can't understand why anyone would care if the system has video out ports. The quality of the video out is not going to be HD or even DVD quality video. It's a nice feature, however, I don't think anyone is picking up the IM7 just because it has a video port.

There also wasn't much on the digital audio input. Does the quality dramatically improve when using it?

Posted by LexLugo on March 3, 2006 at 9:19 PM (PDT) Comment 43

OH My God, Can't believe what we have become. We have ALL become a bunch of childish spoiled whiners. Everytime i look at these comments on almost any product for my pod, its almost always B!#@#!%% B#!$%!^!%! B!%$@^#&@^. What is wrong with all you people. These are just products people, like them or dislike them. Why are we putting sooo much emphisis on its trivialities. For those of you ( and you know who you are ) why don't you try and make something better ( i dare you )for all of us and beat Apple at their own game, if you are sooo f#!$#!$!$%!% smart. This comment is only directed to those wiseass who continually complain about everything. THEY KNOW WHO THEY ARE. I apoliaze to those who are more adult and senible about these things. Remember that idiot who tried to sue Apple cus he was listening to his ipod too loud and caused hearing loss. Well people, we have now gone down to his level. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
Lastly, I would like to thank ilounge for all the hard work they are doing and putting with all this crap.

Posted by Kastor Troy on March 3, 2006 at 9:36 PM (PDT) Comment 44

I just want to know if there is any way you can convert iTunes purchases to higher quality audio easily? I've tried and it won't allow it. Im not trying hard to bash this thing... I'm plenty happy with my JBL OnStage (that I got for $50 on ebay) in the corner of my room and am far too poor to pay more for an iPod accessory than my iPod itself being a college student and all.

What confuses me is why Apple dosen't at least offer music at a higher quality in the iTunes store especially now that they're "audiophile" concious. How about offering better audio and, uh, I dunno GAPLESS PLAYBACK before offering a product that will simply make the flaws in your iTunes purchased music easier to hear.

Also lastly if you DO happen to have enough money to buy such an extravagant accessory maybe you should consider spreading the love around a little. Orphans in India need money much more that good ol' Stevey. But who am I to say anything I'm a spoiled iPod owner too.

Posted by JeremytheIndian on March 4, 2006 at 12:10 AM (PDT) Comment 45
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