Apple Expo: Harman hauls out new iPod accessories

Harman Multimedia is using this week’s Apple Expo in Paris, France to roll out a bunch of new accessories aimed at iPod users and Mac music mavens. The products include a black-clad version of the On Tour speakers, the European version of its Drive + Play auto iPod integration system, the JBL On Stage II, its Creature II speakers in new hues and “The Bridge — an iPod docking station that works with Harman Kardon receivers, enabling home theater enthusiasts to control their iPods from a TV or video display and remote control.

Harman’s new Creature II Red and Creature II Aluminum speakers will begin shipping in October, 2005, in limited quantities. The new red and aluminum-clad versions of its 2.1 speaker system for systems equipped with a headphone jack now come in white, black and gray. The Creature II system carries a suggested retail price of US$99.95.

The On Tour is a “portable music box” speaker system that uses two Odyssey transducers that are protected underneath a hard, sliding cover. It accepts power from a wall outlet or from four AA batteries, which Harman claims last more than 24 hours. The On Tour works with any system equipped with a headphone or 3.5mm line-out jack. The system was introduced in 2004 in a white and chrome finish, and will soon come in a high-gloss black finish that will be available in November.

The On Stage II is specifically designed for the iPod and iPod mini. It’s a desktop speaker system featuring a round design and four transducers, and touts a dock connector on its front. The On Stage II has been improved over the original with a radio frequency (RF)-based remote control. It’s coming in February.

Harman’s Drive + Play system was introduced at July’s Macworld Conference & Expo in Boston — it’s an integrated iPod docking system that works in automobiles. It provides both a five-button navigation control unit that can be mounted anywhere in the car and a backlit LCD screen that shows five lines of text. When the iPod is connected, the Drive + Play will charge the battery, display customized user menus like playlists and more. The “brain” of the system can be hard-wired to your vehicle’s auxiliary input, if so equipped — the European version also features a wired FM transmitter, to route signals directly to the FM radio if there’s no other way to listen. the company expects to ship the European version of the Drive + Play in November, 2005.

The Bridge connects the iPod to a Harman Kardon AVR 40 Series A/V receiver in the home. The Bridge provides an audio and control link between the iPod and the receiver, enabling you to display on-screen menus on the front panel of the AVR 40. What’s more, if you have a TV or video display connected to your AVR 40, you can navigate the iPod’s contents from there. Harman expects to begin shipping The Bridge in Europe in October, 2005 for €99 (about US$121).

For more on iPod accessories, please visit the Accessories Product Guide.

This story, "Apple Expo: Harman hauls out new iPod accessories" was originally published by PCWorld.

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