It only took 5 minutes of exploring CES to realize that the iOS market is OVERSATURATED. For those of you who slept through economics 101 what I'm trying to say is, everyone and their mom is selling an iPhone/iPad app or accessory. Finding the truly innovative products is like finding a needle in a hay stack. Fortunately for you, our dear reader, I have tirelessly searched the endless sea of products to find the innovations and trends that are going to change your life in 2011 and beyond. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it.
Todays subject: Airplay
Airplay gives you the ability to share content between devices over wifi. For example you can stream video from from your iPad on to your Apple TV or music from your iPhone onto Airplay ready speakers. Airplay has been available on iOS since the release of 4.2. However, we are just now starting to see the first wave of airplay ready devices.
Since announcing Airplay, Apple has worked very closely with 5 speaker companies to help them develope compatible speakers (while getting a demo of one of the speakers Apple called half way through to see how it was going). I had an opportunity to demo two of these speakers at CES. I've always hated having to dock my iphone. The docks don't fit if you have a case on, and if you get a phone call while docked the speakers go crazy. I found airplay to be very user friendly much more efficient than docking. Airplay also gives you the ability to play music over more than one set of speakers.
None of the Airplay ready speakers are available to consumers yet. Look for the speakers to hit the market around March. Here are my first impressions:
What I love about the Zeppelin is that sound quality comes first. These speakers really sound great! The Zeppelins also look very sleek. While the new Zeppelin Air maintained the same iconic look as the original Zeppelins, the speakers underneath have been completely redesigned. The new design gives the speakers a very rich sound. The bass is very impressive even at low volume.
At pricepoint of $599.99 these speakers are definitely not for the casual consumer. But if you are passionate about audio quality these speakers are the way to go. According to Bowers and Wilkins the Zeppelin Air will be the first Airplay ready speakers to market. They will be available starting in March.
iHome is another leader in the industry. These speakers are very stylish are have a built in battery for easy portability. They have a conveniant docking system allows you to charge and go without hassling with cords. The speakers feature Bongiovi accoustics for a very nice sound. At less than half of what the Zeppelin's cost these speakers are a great value.