Miami - Multi-room-audio supplier Niles has updated its collection of iPod-dock products to charge newer iPods via their USB pins and to include the first models that connect to the company's ZR-6 multi-room/multi-zone receiver.
When used with Niles multi-room-audio systems, the docking products turn a docked iPod into another music source that can be controlled from multiple rooms of the house and played back through the multi-room system's in-wall and in-ceiling speakers.
The devices that connect to the ZR-6 are the iWare-series SmartDock2 tabletop dock and the ES2 wall-plate extender, each retailing for a suggested $149.95. Both devices also connect to the company's IntelliControl ICS multi-room-audio controller/switchers via a new $249.95-suggested IntelliControl ICS IM-iCARD2 iPod integration module, which slides into the back of the ICS.
"The iPod is the most popular music source for our distributed audio systems, so it's important that we provide compatibility with Apple's latest offerings," said Niles president Frank Sterns.
The SmartDock2 is a tabletop dock that connects via a supplied 2-meter 30-pin cable to a ZR-6 multi-room receiver or to an IntelliControl ICS controller in the same room. For SmartDock2 models placed farther away or in other rooms of the house, consumers would add the ES2 wall-mount extender system. ES2 consists of a wall plate with 30-pin connector and electronic circuitry to send audio from a connected SmartDock2 up to 100 meters to a ZR-6 or to an IntelliControl ICS controller. Users connect a SmartDock2 to the wall plate's 30-pin port via the dock's supplied 2-meter cable. The ES2 connects to the ZR-6 or IntelliControl ICS via dual runs of CAT-5 cable and outputs balanced audio, which reduces noise pickup when audio is sent over long distances.
The SmartDock2 also syncs iPods with a nearby USB-connected PC via the dock's mini-USB jack. If the dock is simultaneously plugged into a ZR-6 or IntelliControl controller either directly or via an ES2 extender, the iPod remains connected to the Niles system while it syncs with the PC's iTunes software.
Per Apple licensing requirements, the SmartDock2 and the ES2 won't charge older generation iPods that charge via FireWire pins, but consumers who own a mix of old and new iPods get a break if they use an IntelliControl ICS controller/switcher. Because IntelliControl ICS uses a modular card cage, the company said, the new USB-charging IM-iCard2 can be inserted in an empty slot next to the company's previous-generation FireWire-charging iPod card. As a result, it is possible to simultaneously charge iPods in previous-generation Niles docks while charging newer-generation iPods in the SmartDock2.
All three products have begun shipping.