Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air
The original Zeppelin got rave reviews, and B&W have now given the Zeppelin an overhaul. The Zeppelin Air is lighter than its predecessor, has new drivers and – as the name implies – adds Apple’s AirPlay wireless tech. The initial set-up process does require a wired Ethernet connection, but once you’ve configured the wireless settings the Zeppelin Air automatically shows up in iTunes on any device that supports AirPlay. The sound is excellent – zinging in the higher frequencies, with a rich, full-bodied bass and plenty of volume behind it too. A fantastic sound, but the £500 price tag really is pushing things when there are cheaper yet barely inferior alternatives out there.
Reg Rating 85%
More info B&W
Conran Audio Dock
The Conran Audio Dock is a neat, compact speaker system with the minimalist design that you might expect from Habitat founder Sir Terence Conran. Available in black or white, the Audio Dock has a rotating dock that allows you to switch an iPod or iPhone into either widescreen or upright mode, as well as Bluetooth and Apt-X streaming. Mac users can also download some free software that lets them use the Apt-X codec on their computer as well. Two pairs of woofers and tweeters produce a rich, warm sound and while it’s not massively loud it’s more than adequate for a tasteful soirée with your Conran cognoscenti designer friends.
Reg Rating 80%
More info Conran Audio
Next page: Creative ZiiSound D5x
Don't know if its just me.....
But I just *hate* superfluous features.
I don't have an iPod or iPhone and, while many of these speakers will work with the non Apple kit I *do* have, it just grates my sensibilities that there is this prominent "dock" that I'm never going to use.
Even when they can be hidden away, you still know its there, but can't be used so, for me, the dock-free Altec Lansing has to be the clear winner.
You could have said "*iPod* wireless speakers". I thought this was something interesting.
From a tech site, I'd have liked to hear how many of these support DLNA's "Play to..." function, to be useful with non-Apple kit too.
Of jacks and docks
I can use the audio in jack if I want to. I can use it with just about any audio source I can find.
I can use any of the buttons on the dash if I want to.
I can't use the iThing dock because my phone isn't an iPhone and my music player isn't an iPod.
To continue your car analogy. You can buy cars with built in bike racks. You can sling pretty much any bike onto them. It doesn't matter if I don't use the rack, my bike will fit it if I want it to.
If the rack was custom designed to fit the bikes from a certain manufacturer, and my bike is from a different manufacturer, then its not a matter of "don't use", its a matter of "can't use" unless I buy a new bike from that certain manufacturer.
What I would have to do is fit an after-market bike rack and ignore the factory fitted one, which would be an arsingly stupid situation.
Re: No "affordable" options?
Yeah, I'm with Tim here. Even a bit in the box at the top of the first page indicating the price range would have been handy. As it is, I had to click through five pages of kit and read all the summary boxes to find out there wasn't a single model that I could even begin to afford.
I mean, it's only a wireless speaker. I have a San Francisco Smartphone and a no-name chinese Android tablet that, combined, cost less than the cheapest of these speakers. And I guarantee I'll get a lot more use from the phone and tablet.
No "affordable" options?
I know "ten eye-wateringly expensive iPod speaker docks, some of which might have AirPlay" is more of a mouthful than the title you chose, but it would've arguably been more accurate :-(
Just for starters: if you want to round up some "wireless" speakers, where are the Bluetooth models? They're not all tinny £30 jobbies - Creative's D100 puts out surprisingly good-quality output over Bluetooth (A2DP), and if you shop around you can find it online for under £50. (I saw the D100 on sale for a short time in our local Currys for £35, and having tried one out in the store, I'm still kicking myself that I didn't go for it.)
Personally, I've never seen the point of an iPod dock that costs three times the price of the iPod docked into it, but maybe I just lack imagination...