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Apps, iPad Speakers Due As Docking Market Gains

NEW YORK — New iPod/iPhonedocking speakers systems coming to market include a growing number of models at higher price points ranging from $179 to $499. More also sport free downloadable iPhone/iPod Touch apps to add speaker-system features, and one will be the first solar-powered iPod speaker.

Here’s what you’ll find:

Edifier: The China-based audio supplier will enter the U.S. market for the first time with five products, two of them iPod-docking speakers systems. The other three will be PC multimedia speakers.

One iPod speaker systems include the foldaway AC/DC iF350 with FM radio at $179. The other is the $299 AC-only iF500 Luna 5 tabletop system with FM, three-way speaker system, 52 watts of amplification and a spherical speaker enclosure with elliptical profile. Both are Works with iPhone-certified.

The Luna5 is a one-piece unit with an iPod-docking base/control panel and an upright round speaker panel with elliptical profile. The speaker panel incorporates a 5.75-inch bass driver flanked by two 2.75-inch midrange drivers and two 1-inch tweeters.

Eton: The $199 Soulra is promoted as the industry’s first solar-powered iPod/iPhone-docking speaker system.

The portable AC/DC system with rechargeable lithium-ion battery was to be available in early June in store3s and online.

The water- and dust-resistant Soulra comes with a rubberized aluminum case with front door the closes over a docked iPod or iPhone, which can be controlled from behind the door by a supplied IR remote. When the door is flipped up, its attached solar panel points to the sky.

iHome: A quartet of new iPod-docking speaker systems from the SDI Technologies brand includes a model designed for the kitchen and a folding AC/DC travel alarm clock.

All are certified as Made for iPod and Works with iPhone.

The kitchen speaker is the $99 P39, which has begun shipping with such kitchen-oriented features as a magnetmount remote control, two timers for cooking, kitchen aesthetics and easy-to- clean surfaces, the company said.

The dock retracts for protection when not in use. The P39 also features FM radio and clock-radio functions.

For indoor and outdoor use, SDI plans June shipments of the $99 iP46 portable rechargeable speaker system with internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery. A higher-priced AC/DC portable, due in mid-June, is the $159 iP49 rechargeable travel clock radio, which folds flat like a laptop and features FM, NXT flat-panel speaker technology, 20-watt output and Bongiovi Acoustics digital signal processing to restore detail to compressed music.

Jensen (by Spectra): The company plans fourth-quarter shipment of a Jensen-brand model at a suggested $99.99.

The Jensen JiPS-250i will also accept iPods and iPhones and will deliver iPad/iPod/iPhone-stored video to a connected TV via the speaker’s composite- video output.

The JiPS-250i will accept a free app to deliver additional speaker-system features, such as Internet radio, weather information, alarm clock with a variety of wake/sleep settings, custom EQ settings and subscription-based Play Anywhere service, which lets users access their personal music collections via the Internet.

The system takes the form of a speaker tube with side-firing speakers and adjustable holder that rotates the iPad into portrait and landscape modes and angles the iPad up to 55 degrees to enable easy use of the iPad’s virtual keyboard. It will be certified as Works with iPhone.

Philips: The inaugural Fidelio series of iPod-docking speaker systems from Philips steps up the company’s topend price point to suggested $499, introduces a new curved styling, and features the company’s first models with free iPhone/iPod Touch apps.