Immediately prior to the start of the 2011 CES, leading Apple speaker and alarm clock developer iHome unexpectedly debuted two new AirPlay wireless speakers, adding to the iTunes and iOS stereo receiver family started by the as-yet-unreleased $300 iW1. Continuing the iW1’s clean lines, the iW2 and iW3 sport black cloth front and side grilles with glossy plastic and metal accents, reducing the size of their physical enclosures to hold smaller drivers—two or four in the case of iW2, and four in iW3, tweeters firing forwards with bass drivers firing to the sides. Both the wide iW2 and tall iW3 remove the capacitive buttons on top in favor of physical counterparts, similarly dropping the iW1’s rechargeable battery and charging base in favor of mandatory wall power adapters. While the iW2 retains the flat, oval shape of the iW1, the iW3 features a taller, squared design. Other shared features between the two units include Wi-Fi, Ethernet ports—unique to the iW2 and iW3—plus USB connectivity for an iPod/iPhone/iPad dock, auxiliary audio inputs, and highly simplified wireless network setup with a free downloadable application.
iW2 and iW3 do not have final prices yet, but are targeted for the $200 price range, which would make them the most affordable AirPlay wireless speakers available. They are expected to be launched in Summer or Fall of 2011. Additional photographs of iW1, iW2, and iW3 are available here.