twice connect
careers

High-End Suppliers Embracing AirPlay

1/17/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern
LAS VEGAS — More high-end home-audio suppliers have begun to embrace Apple’s AirPlay wireless-audio technology for the first time.

At International CES, home-speaker supplier Bowers & Wilkins launched the latest model in its Zeppelin series of iPod/iPhone-docking speaker systems, McIntosh showed a mockup of a tabletop AirPlay-equipped powered speaker system, and Klipsch unveiled three tabletop AirPlay speaker systems.

Component-audio suppliers Denon and Marantz have already shipped home audio components with AirPlay. For its part, iHome, the supplier of iPod-docking speakers, came to CES with its own AirPlay-enabled $299-suggested iPod/iPhone-docking iW1, due sometime in early 2011.

Equipped with AirPlay, home audio products select and stream unprotected and Apple-protected via Wi-Fi or Ethernet directly from a PC’s iTunes application. Song selection can also be made remotely via Wi-Fi from a hand-held iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone.

AirPlay-enabled home audio products also stream music directly from iPads, iPods and iPhones via a Wi-Fi network.

With AirPlay, consumers can stream a song from a networked PC to multiple AirPlay speakers simultaneously to create a wireless multi-room-audio system with separate volume levels for each speaker. When music streams from an iPad or iPhone, only one AirPlay speaker at a time is able to play back the song, marketers explained.

The Bowers & Wilkins product, called Zeppelin Air, ships in March at a suggested $599. The 2.1-channel device uses individual amps for each of five drivers, amp output of 4x25 watts plus 1x50 watts, and 24-bit/96kHz DACs.

For its part, McIntosh went to CES to show a mockup of a tabletop AirPlay speaker that it expects to ship in the fall at around $2,000 or more. It would be Mc- Intosh’s first product designed to work with iPods, iPhones, or iPads.

The McIntosh model will feature biamplified 2.1 speaker system with two-way speakers and built-in ported sub, Class A/B amplification, and tentative power ratings of 70 to 100 watts per channel with 150- to 200-watt sub output. The mockup also features analog aux input and USB input, intended to stream music from a connected laptop or PC.

Unlike the Zeppelin Air, McIntosh’s mockup lacks Apple’s physical 30-pin connector. Nonetheless, iPods and iPads will be able to stand up vertically on top of the speaker and charge via a short cable to the speaker’s USB port. McIntosh didn’t think an embedded 30-pin dock was needed because consumers would likely keep their iPod or iPod close by to choose songs.
Want to read more stories like this?
Get our Free Newsletter Here!

Curated By Logo