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New York — The forms and functions of iPod hi-fi systems are multiplying like rabbits, as are the number of supplier trying to tap into the high-volume, high-margin phenomenon.
Newcomers include iLive and nostalgia-electronics supplier Crosley. Their products are competing with an expanded Jamo selection and new models from Teac, Logitech, Klipsch, Directed Electronics, and others.
For some suppliers, including Klipsch and Crosley, the devices have enabled them to tap into channels of distribution at which CE isn't traditionally sold.
Their iPod-charging hifi systems, with integrated iPod docks, include:
the first minisystem-type systems with separate speakers, integrated AM/FM tuners and CD players. One is from newcomer iLive, which incorporates tuner and DVD/CD player. Two are from Teac, which incorporates tuner and CD player;
more models with integrated radio tuners. They include the first from Kensington and Logitech, joining models from Teac and Tivoli;
the first iPod-docking AM/FM/CD boombox and undercabinet AM/FM radio. They're also from iLive;
the first home dock that accepts iPods and multiple (more than two) Sirius plug-and-play tuners. It's from Directed;
the first 50s-jukebox-style dock. It's from Crosley;
a dock that operates as a tabletop stereo system but also integrates with a distributed-audio system to distribute iPod music throughout the house. It's from Jamo.
some of the first docks to use NXT flat-panel speaker technology. The Directed model and the two Teac models offer this technology, joining a Kensington model launched late last year.
Here's what the companies are offering. (See p. 41 for Logitech launch.)
Crosley: Percolating bubble tubes and neon lights adorn the $249-suggested iJuke, a 50s-jukebox-style dock that will be available exclusively through Linens-N-Things in early fall. Its 18x12x9.5-inch frame features sidefiring stereo speakers with DSP to wrap listeners in sound. It features Apple's Universal Dock system and iPod charger. The included remote, which can be stored inside a back storage compartment, delivers full iPod menu control.
iLive: The St.Louis-based startup brand has begun shipping its first five iPod docks, all marketed exclusively under the iLive name. The products are: an AM/FM/CD boombox, a desktop speaker system, an alarm clock, an undercabinet AM/FM radio, and a 2.1-channel AM/FM/DVD music/video system.
The boombox, at a suggested $129, is the industry's first iPod-charging boombox dock with AM/FM/CD. The boombox doesn't rip CDs, however Klipsch's $199 iJam boombox, unveiled last year, features AM/FM tuner but no CD player.
iLive's $159-suggested DVD-equipped tabletop system differs from Polk's $599 iSonic tabletop AM/FM/DVD system in that it charges iPods and connects to iPods via Apple's proprietary multipin connector. Polk's system mates with iPods, but like many tabletop radios, the HD Radio-equipped, XM-ready iSonic makes the iPod connection via a stereo minijack input, doesn't recharge iPods, and doesn't double as an iPod stand.
iLive products have been picked up by Target, Sears, Best Buy, Shopco, Fry's and others.
The other products are priced at a suggested $99 for the clock radio and $69 for an amplified docking speaker system with no tuner or CD player. Detail of the undercabinet radio dock, due shortly, were unavailable.
All iLive models ship in black or white.
Jamo: The audio company's first one-piece tabletop system, the $219-suggested i200, is due in September in black or white. It's 15-inches-wide and 5-inches-tall, and it comes with keyholes for wall-mounting.
A current model, the $399-suggested i300, comes with separate left-right speakers and a subwoofer.
The new model, which also features aux input for other-brand MP3 players, features a subwoofer output for connection to powered subwoofers, but the output also doubles as a connection to the JamoLink multiroom audio system to distribute iPod audio throughout the house.
Kensington: The company's next-generation speaker dock with flat-panel NXT speaker technology is the SX 3000R, which adds FM radio, infrared remote, and compatibility with an iPod's alarm-clock function at an expected everyday $169. It's due in September with built-in Apple universal iPod dock, iPod recharger.
iPod alarm-clock compatibility means the dock will turn on and amplify iPod music when the iPod wakes up.
Klipsch: The audio-specialist company applied a high-gloss black finish to a current dock, lowered the price to a suggested $250, increased dynamic range, and called it the iGroove HG.
Teac: The company's first two minisystem-style iPod hi-fi systems incorporate vertical-load CD player with motorized loading door, AM/FM tuner, pair of NXT-technology flat-panel speakers, and an outboard subwoofer.
The CD-X10i with detachable iPod dock ships in August at an expected everyday $249. The MC-DX22i, due in September at around $299, features integrated dock. Both offer Apple's new universal docking system, digital clock with sleep timer, remote, minijack for other brands of MP3 players, MP3-CD playback,
The two models join two single-piece table radio models that shipped in the spring. The $149-suggested SR-L200i is shaped like a traditional tabletop radio, and the $179-suggested SR-LXi is shaped more like a traditional one-piece docking station with speakers.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.