First the iPod has changed the way people think about music on the move and now Apple wishes to change the way you think about music in the home. Appleâ€™s release of its own branded speakers, cleverly marketed as â€˜Hi-Fiâ€™, doesnâ€™t just step on the toes of the myriad manufacturers of third party iPod speakers, itâ€™s also a threat to the established â€˜properâ€™ Hi-Fi brands such as the Denonâ€™s and Onkyoâ€™s of this world. Appleâ€™s CEO Steve Jobs even claimed that he had replaced his own hi-fi set up for Appleâ€™s new boom box. Marketing nonsense that may be but it was a clear statement of intent from the Cupertino company.
With the release of Appleâ€™s boom box, iPod speakers are now destined to go mainstream. The benefit of iPod speakers is, much like the iPod itself, convenience. Instead of having to connect up your iPod via a cable to your Hi-Fi, you can simply pop them into a slot built into the speakers and you can charge your iPod as you listen and control it with a remote.
As well as Appleâ€™s recent arrival there are many docks on market and weâ€™ve rounded up three others to see how they compare. We havenâ€™t included any pop-Â¬in-your-bag type portable speakers as we thought that the sound quality of these wouldnâ€™t make it a fair comparison to the larger sets.
So are Appleâ€™s speakers the peachiest of the bunch? Letâ€™s find out.
How We Tested
The testing procedure we followed was fairly straightforward. We used an iPod with a wide variety of musical styles on it, containing MP3 and AAC encoded tracks ripped straight from the original CDs at a bit-rate of 192Kbps. This maintains a reasonable level of quality and is higher than the 128Kbps bit-rate offered by the iTunes online store.