Cool Mac Gear: Entertainment
You can't wear headphones all the time, right? That's why the electronics stores are crammed with iPod speakers. If you really want to do your iPod justice, you've got to ditch the earbuds that came with it and upgrade. Here's the hottest assortment of speakers, headphones, and the coolest way to watch movies from your Mac.
You can't wear headphones all the time, right? That's why the electronics stores are crammed with iPod speakers. Among the new models worth checking out are the following:
The iGroove SXT ($170), from Klipsch, gives you much of the same performance as the company's standard iGroove desktop speaker system, but in a smaller package and for less money. Tweeters featuring Klipsch's horn-loaded technology deliver the detail, and an automatic wake feature lets you use your iPod's built-in alarm to nudge yourself out of bed.
Want something more portable? Sonic Impact's i-F3 ($170) combines the rugged built-into-a-hard-case design of the company's i-Fusion and i-F2 speaker systems, but adds a digital alarm clock and FM radio. The system sounds good for its size, includes a rechargeable battery, stands up to quite a bit of abuse, and can even store your iPod and earbuds inside the case.
If you're more interested in an audio system for the bedroom, Logitech has designed, from the ground up, the ultimate iPod alarm clockÑthe Pure-Fi Dream ($250). Its amber lights and screen automatically dim based on ambient light, but brighten whenever the Pure-Fi detects a hand near the controls. (The motion sensors also pick up wild, flailing-for-the-snooze-button movements in the early morn.) Every control is backlit, so it's easy to set either of the Pure-Fi's two alarms in even a pitch-black room. Oh, and it's also a very nice speaker system, with a screen that displays information about the current iPod track.
For the iPod owner who has everything, or the design-conscious customer who doesn't want just any iPod speaker, consider the Zeppelin ($600) from Bowers & Wilkins (more widely known as simply B&W), a striking debut entry in the iPod-accessory market. The Zeppelin shrinks down the company's high-end speaker technologies and puts them into a sleek, capsule-shaped system with five drivers and three amplifiers. A unique iPod-docking arm lets you wrap your hand around the iPod to operate it, just as if you were holding the iPod in your hand. And like the iPod, both the Zeppelin and its stylish remote have shiny chrome backsides.
JBL On Air Control 2.4G
JBL's On Air Control 2.4G ($349) combines an audio transmitter with a pair of compact, amplified, wireless speakers to let you listen anywhere in your house, regardless of the location of your audio source. You just connect the small transmitter to that sourceÑvia analog cables or, in the case of a computer, USBÑand turn on the speakers. You can also connect a second audio source (say, an iPod) directly to the speakers. A wireless remote lets you adjust volume and switch the input source without having to venture to the room with the transmitter.
If you're especially aesthetically mindedÑthe kind of person who doesn't even want to see speakers in a roomÑyou'll appreciate Soundolier's Duo Wireless Speaker Lamp ($300). To casual observers, it looks like any other stylish floor lamp. (And it does indeed light the room.) But inside each lamp is an omnidirectional 5.25-inch speaker and a wireless receiver. Connect the system's transmitter to your audio source, and you've got sound, up to 300 feet away, without traditional speakers cluttering up your room. If you have two Soundolier Duos, you can even use them as left and right speakers or as rear speakers in a surround-sound system.-Dan Frakes