NEW YORK — The inaugural Fidelio series of iPod-docking speaker systems from Philips steps up the company’s top-end price point to suggested $499, introduces a new curved styling, and features the company’s first models with free iPhone/iPod Touch apps to add features.
They’re also the company’s first iPod-docking speaker systems to dock with iPhone and iPods with their protective cases on. And two are the company’s first to capture iPod/iPhone audio in digital PCM form.
The company also launched two new docking speakers outside the Fidelio series, both sporting a more traditional design, and announced plans for its first iPad/iPod/iPhone-docking speaker system sometime in the second half. It will feature built-in stereo Bluetooth and AC/DC operation. Consumers would use Bluetooth to transmit audio while holding an iPad to play a motionsensing game, or they could use Bluetooth to transmit music while holding onto the iPad. While docked, the iPad would double as a photo frame with music playing in the background. Additional details were unavailable.
The Fidelio speaker systems, all onepiece units ranging in price from $69.99 to $499, just became available, and all but the $69.99 model became available at Apple stores. The top three models are exclusive to Apple.
The Fidelio name is earmarked for products that are “more aesthetically pleasing” in the home, said customer marketing director Roy Carpenter. Because of the additional functionality provided by the app, the company didn’t have to place as many buttons on the units’ chassis, enabling the giving the company the flexibility to design aesthetically pleasing shapes, Carpenter said.
Philips also stepped up sound quality at all price points in the series, which tops out at $499, compared with a previous Philips top price point of $199, he said.
For all five Fidelio models, the free app adds alarm clock and sleep-timer functions. In the $99.99 model, the app adds those functions plus bass boost, and in the $199.99 and $499 models, the additional functions are preset EQ settings and user-adjustable five-band equalizer. More functions will be added with future app updates.
All five feature spring-loaded 30- pin connector to accommodate an iPod’s protective case and hold the iPod against a support when iPod controls are pressed.
At the top of the line, the company said, the $499 DS 9000 features separate woofers and ring-radiator tweeters, 100-watt Class D amplifier, capture of an iPod’s digital PCM output, a front dock, black-fabric face, a curved-back chassis that eliminates internal standing waves and a chassis made of wood to enhance stiffness. A proximity sensor lights up a backlit control panel when someone approaches.
At the bottom of the lineup, the $69.99 DS1100 consists of a round base with top-mounted dock, topmounted speaker pair to deliver omnidirectional sound, 4-watt output, aux input, and clock display that synchronizes with an iPhone/iPod clock when docked. It also features USB port to charge a connected portable device, and its base glows from the bottom.
Stepping up to $79.99, the DS3000 features curved back, front-mounted dock, 8-watt output and aux input. For desktop use, it has iPod/iPhone synchronization of media and contacts with a connected PC. It also features USB port to charge a connected portable device.
At $12.99, the DS7550 is the company’s first portable AC/DC rechargeable dock, said Carpenter. It features front dock, slim design to take on the go, metal grille for durability, aluminum back chassis, scratch-resistant coating, protective case, aux input and Philips’s Woox bass enhancement. It comes with 10-watt amp, aux input and the battery’s playback time is more than eight hours, Carpenter said.
The $199 DS8500 features curvedback chassis, front dock, 30-watt output, ability to capture digital PCM audio from a docked iPod/iPhone, and proximity sensor to light up backlit controls.
The two new docking speakers not in the Fidelio series are the 5-watt $69.99 DC220 FM clock radio and the 10- watt $99.99 DC290 clock radio with aluminum chassis.
Both also feature spring-loaded dock and ability to dock with iPods/iPhones with their protective cases on. Both are dual-alarm models with FM radio and aux input.