Belkin has announced a new audio accessory that enables iPhone owners to add AirPlay 2 connectivity to any speaker or pair of speakers.
The new SoundForm Connect Audio is a dongle that can connect to your existing audio equipment via 3.5mm or an optical port. From there, you’ll be able to stream your tunes directly to the previously dumb speakers.
It costs $99.99/£89.99, which is a little expensive compared to the discontinued Google Chromecast Audio dongle it can be likened to. That was only £35. However, for Apple users, this is a great option if you have good, non-connected speakers or other audio equipment you’ve got no wish to upgrade. It’s also a great, albeit expensive, option for creating a multi-room audio set-up.
The device will see the speakers appear within the audio options on iPhone, iPad or Mac. Belkin says the new accessory will support CD-quality sample rates of 16-bit/44.1 kHz.
Given Apple has just announced Apple Music lossless as a free upgrade for subscribers, there’s a chance this could be a perfect companion. However, thus far, Apple has no means of transmitting the lossless tracks wirelessly through the AirPods or HomePod, let alone a third-party dongle.
The device is plug-and-play, so there’s no complex set-up. It can be plugged into a receiver, a speaker (active or passive) or a TV sound bar or sound system. There’s no information on how it’s hooked-up to a Wi-Fi network, but we’d assume this is handled by the Belkin app.
The item is now available for pre-order with delivery in June in the US. The UK website simply says the device is “coming soon”. At £89.99 it’s not that much cheaper than outright buying one of the best smart speakers like HomePod mini, but this is still likely to be a popular device for some people looking to upgrade their legacy speakers.