harman multimedia introduced SoundSticks, its three-piece speaker system for the Mac, at Macworld Expo, New York.

The system, designed by Jonathan Ive’s design team at Apple, combines groundbreaking design with compelling sound acoustics, according to Apple. The system, which costs $199, will be available through the UK Apple Store later today. No price is available yet.

EU regulations harman multimedia president, James Druckrey, talked about the problems with harman’s previous world-class release, iSub. He says: "The problem in shipping iSub to Europe revolved around the power supply we originally used. The European Union regulatory authorities wouldn’t let us ship in Europe. This time we’ve used a universal power supply."

The speaker system consists of two 10-watt satellite speakers supported by the award-winning 20-watt subwoofer, iSub - which is capable of frequencies as low as 44Hz. The towers contain four Odyssey transducers that deliver frequencies beyond 20KHz. SoundSticks work with a USB-equipped Apple computer running Mac OS 9.0.4, or later. Mac OS X will also be supported.

Business lunch Druckrey describes the system, developed as a result of a brainstorming session between him and Steve Jobs in a Californian restaurant, as "key to the broadband experience". The system is aimed at gamers, MP3 fans, and DVD-watchers.

He also described some of the design and technical challenges faced in developing SoundSticks - the base, he said, is cast metal, covered with plastic. Providing weight and support, the base also helps maintain sound consistency, he said: "It’s the things that seem small that take the most time."

Druckrey also said the SoundSticks deliver more accurate audio reproduction than the speakers supplied with Apple’s innovative G4 Cube. He expects many G4 Cube buyers will upgrade to Sound Sticks, and describes the combination as indicative of Apple’s vision to get a Mac "into every living room".