By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
North Reading, Mass. — Hi-fi supplier Bowers & Wilkins is expanding its selection of AirPlay-equipped speakers with the launch of two models, which are also its first two digital media speakers with Apple’s eight-pin Lightning connector.
Both new models are equipped with Wi-Fi, AirPlay and the Lightning connector, which enables docking with the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod Touch and seventh-generation iPod Nano. Neither model is physically designed to dock with the iPad Mini, which also features Lightning connector.
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.
San Jose, Calif. – THX Ltd. sued Apple in federal court here, alleging that Apple is using patented THX speaker technology in select iOS mobile devices and in iMac PCs, Bloomberg reports.
Peterborough, Ontario — High-end audio supplier Bryston is diversifying from electronics to speakers in a big way with plans to offer eight models.
The lineup includes two floor standing speakers, a stand-mount speaker, an active subwoofer, two center-channel speakers, an in-wall speaker and an on-wall speaker.
Three models are already shipping and will be followed by additional models in May and in the third quarter.
Berkeley, Calif. — Sumiko, the North America distributor of multiple high-end audio lines, launched a special-edition version of REL Acoustics’ R-528 subwoofer.
The subwoofer is being is promoted as delivering much of the performance of REL’s flagship Gibraltar G-1 subwoofer in a much smaller enclosure for space-challenged rooms.
The R-528SE ships in mid-March at a suggested $2,799. It takes the shape of a 17.5-inch cube, compared with the $4,499 G-1, which measures 18.25 by 22.5 by 26 inches.
Boston — Luxury-audio startup AudioXperts, founded last year by industry veteran Eli Harary, has rolled out its first products to a dozen specialty retailers in the U.S.
Chula Vista, Calif. – Industry veteran Jeremy Burkhardt, the new owner of Soundcast Systems, is pledging to invest more resources in the wireless-audio company.
His goal is to strengthen its sales and marketing efforts, accelerate product development, and offer new products that will reinforce the company’s appeal to users of smartphones and tablets.
Last week, Burkhardt purchased 100 percent of Soundcast and all of Soundcast’s patents for an undisclosed price less than a year after leaving left Nortek brand SpeakerCraft.
Lexington, Ky. — Thiel Audio is committed to the independent-rep distribution model and is looking at filling holes in its rep network, said Bob Brown, Thiel board member and interim COO.
In about a month, Thiel will have a “better idea” about its rep choices and will have completed a review of pricing and margin programs, Brown added.
Newport Beach, Calif. – Retail-level soundbar sales rose 126 percent in the fourth quarter to $245 million compared to the year-ago period and by 82 percent for the full year to $658 million, Quixel Research announced.
For the full year, retail-level dollar sales grew faster than factory-level unit shipments, which rose 68 percent, the company said in citing a 126 percent unit-sales gain in soundbars with external subwoofer.
The company forecasts retail-level soundbar sales will exceed $1 billion in 2013 and jump to well over $2 billion in 2016.
Chicago — At least one more company has launched a wireless speaker that plugs into a home’s AC outlet like a night light.
Start-up Bēm Wireless launched the $99 outlet speaker, a mono Bluetooth speaker available now on the company’s website and in March at Amazon and Target.com.
Santa Barbara, Calif. — Sonos, the supplier of wireless multi-room-audio systems, entered the soundbar market with the $699-suggested Playbar, which connects to a TV and to Sonos’ wireless multi-room-audio network to stream music from PCs, Apple’s mobile devices, and Internet radio stations and music services.