New York — Architectural audio company Sonance announced that it will ship its iPort, an in-wall docking station for the Apple iPod, to its dealers this month.
According to Sonance, the iPort will be the first in-wall iPod dock for distributed audio systems on the market. For a suggested $598, the iPort lets iPod owners play their music across a distributed audio system – Sonance’s or others – while simultaneously recharging the player’s battery.
Songs are controlled either directly from the iPod or from a wall panel that is currently limited to pause, play, stop or track back/forward. According to Scott Sylvester, director of product strategy, Sonance, future panels will feature the ability to access song metadata for greater control over song selection.
Since the iPort provides the electronic interface for audio, control and power signals, the player can be controlled by remote, in addition to a wall panel.
“We can — and will — reproduce all the graphics on the iPod’s screen on one of our control panels,” Sylvester said. That also includes the recently announced iPod Photo. Sylvester said the company is working on solutions for distributing stored digital images from an iPod Photo to home displays.
The iPort can play a single song from a docked iPod in multiple rooms if it is connected to a distributed audio system. Users can control a single iPod from multiple locations, but it cannot play different songs in different rooms from a single iPod, Sylvester said, as Apple has not built that capability into its portable.
The in-wall dock works with both the full-sized iPod and the slimmed-down iPod Mini.
According to Sonance, as new iPod models are introduced the company will develop accessories to fit them. They will also develop a complete line of iPorts to also include home rack systems.
The unit’s chassis employs Sonance's RotoLock mounting system and each iPort is shipped with a custom install accessory kit that contains all the hardware and cables required for a complete installation.
According to Sonance’s chief operating officer Geoff Spencer, the iPort was inspired in part by the success of BMW, which “created an elegant solution for integrating an iPod into a car audio environment.”