Altaz merges old school, natural materials with high tech goodness

You don't have to settle for plastic or even metal accessories thanks to Altaz. I had a chance to use their latest Micro-Fi miniature speakers and they represent such a pleasant juxtaposition of today's technology and real wood speakers. The Altaz Micro-Fi is highly reminiscent of the bookshelf speakers I had in college, back when people cared about how things were made.

If you put the Micro-Fi in a dollhouse, they would look right at home, like full scale speakers, but they are actually about the size of a stack of business cards. And thanks to the rechargeable battery, you could place the Micro-Fi just about anywhere.

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However, it's sound that matters when reviewing speakers, and thankfully, the Altaz doesn't disappoint. The iPad's speaker has never been impressive, but when hooked up to the Altaz, the music fills a room. The speakers are separated, but are meant to be attached by the included audio cable. I saw a prototype of a 30pin docking model at the recent CE Week tradeshow in New York City and that promises to be really cool. It has a metal base and integrated volume and power buttons. But with the non docking model, you can listen to any device that has a standard audio jack.

Speaking of hooking up, I did have to refer to the quick guide. Now that I understand the cabling, it's straightforward, but I was thrown off by the fact that both speakers have an Audio In jack, but really the powered speaker should be labeled Audio Out or Out to Second Speaker or some variation. The other specialized cable is used for both audio and power, provided by a USB charger (not included) or USB port on a computer.

I'd love to try the docking version, when it's available, as it will eliminate some of the cabling issues. Watch their website for availability.
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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP,,, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.