Within the next few weeks, Logitech intends to join the AirPlay fray with their aerodynamic Air Speaker.
At its most basic, when talking audio, Apple’s wireless streaming protocol is conceptually similar conceptually to Bluetooth — beam your music from one device to another. However, as AirPlay rides ones wireless network, it’s not limited to the same short distances as Bluetooth (~30 feet) and more complex interactions are supported. From Apple:
AirPlay does more than just stream your music to external speakers. It streams information about your music, too. Song titles, artists, album names, elapsed and remaining time, and album artwork all appear on AirPlay-enabled speakers with graphical displays. For the ultimate sonic panorama, you can stream your tunes to more than one room simultaneously, so you’ll never lose the beat, no matter where you are in the house.
We anticipate the Logitech Air Speaker will land at a similar price point as the recently released iHome iW1 ($300, reviewed here). Unfortunately, Logitech’s solution requires the speaker to be tethered to power at all times with no indication of a rechargeable battery. So if you were looking for portable wireless speakers this may not be for you. On the other hand, for those streaming and/or controlling AirPlay audio via an iPhone or iPad, Logitech kindly provides a “hideaway” dock for Speaker configuration… and iOS device charging.
Logitech has yet to release pricing or itemize the Speaker’s sonic capabilities, but their Amazon listing provides a few more nuggets of info:
- The Logitech Air Speaker with Apple AirPlay technology uses your home Wi-Fi network to stream uncompressed audio from your iPad, iPhone, iPod touch or laptop.
- Once you’re set up, any iOS device or computer on your Wi-Fi network is instantly connected. So you can stream tunes from your iPad , your friends’ iPhones or your girlfriend’s laptop no pairing required.
- For years, we’ve been building some of your favorite and best sounding speakers and iPod docks. And now, we’ve crafted an AirPlay speaker that looks great in any room and delivers a big soundstage with impressively detailed, stereo sound.
- Your Air Speaker even includes an Apple Dock Connector in a hideaway drawer. Use it to charge your iPad or iPhone when it’s low on power. Or use it to play music from your iPod classic or iPod nano.
As for my household, we prefer the agnostic and possibly more elegant Sonos solution over AirPlay and have been contemplating picking up a refurb Jawbone Jambox ($130) for lighter weight Bluetooth audio duties (including speakerphone) in the kitchen.