Milford, Pa. - Altec Lansing joined a handful of companies offering iPad-docking speaker systems, but the company expects a lot more competitors to enter the market in the coming months.
The company also said it is considering the development of docking speakers for other tablets that look like "serious contenders" in the market, product manager Steve Schlangen told TWICE. Docking speaker systems for smartphones other than the iPhone are also under consideration, he said.
Altec's first model, available today in Apple stores, is the AC-only Octiv Stage at a suggested $149. Distribution will be expanded as production ramps up.
Octiv Stage features an iPad stand that rotates to present the iPad's display in portrait and landscape modes. The stand also tilts all the way back to facilitate typing on its virtual QWERTY keyboard. Other iPad speakers systems rotate the iPad's display, and others tilt the display back, but no others currently on the market rotate and tilt all the way back to facilitate typing, Schlangen said. Other models that tilt back don't tilt flat, he noted.
The rotating stand sits on a tabletop base whose four sides slope back. The front of the base features two 2-inch neodymium-magnet full-range drivers that deliver a 90dB sound pressure level (SPL) measured at 1 watt/1 meter. The speakers are ported to deepen bass response.
The speaker system is certified for use with iPods and iPhones and accepts all iPods but the latest iPod Nano, which features an integrated clip on back that prevents docking. Although the system is built for the iPad, Schlangen noted, "the majority of iPad owners have an iPhone or iPod."
The base also features back-panel 3.5mm aux input and front IR receiver. The included IR remote controls play/pause, track up/down and volume, as well as navigation of the iPad's iTunes-synced music and videos. Consumers, however, can't launch the iPad's iTunes app via the IR remote.
Although the system is voiced to deliver music as accurately as possible, Altec also made sure to voice the system to deliver intelligible dialog for the iPad's more likely uses as a video playback and gaming device, Schlangen said.
As for launching docks for other tablets, Schlangen noted that one challenge is the varying location of MicroUSB and MiniUSB connectors on the various products. Altec doesn't want to use cable adapters to enable one docking speaker system to connect to multiple tablets because the look wouldn't be as clean, Schlangen said.