Computer accessories specialist Kensington has announced a hugely expanded range of iPod accessories, introducing two new iPod shuffle products, iPod speakers and its new Entertainment Dock for iPods. All of the new items are available in white and ship with a two-year warranty.
Kensington's sx2000 Speakers for iPod cost £99.99 and offer a powerful sound for a one-piece unit. A full review of these speakers is available in the new edition of 'Macworld Plus', which is available in newsagents now.
The all-in-one white speaker system hosts a built-in dock, which recharges the music player while sucking audio from it via the Dock Connector. The latter means the speakers will broadcast the finest available digital sounds that can come from an iPod, as audio from the Dock connector is higher quality than through the 3.5mm headphone jack. The system also boasts a rear-mounted 3.5mm jack, so you can use the speakers with older iPods and other devices.
The half-inch thick speakers themselves are housed behind a single grey-mesh rectangular screen, which accounts for most of the system's height and width (its dimensions are: 16.2 x 7.2 x 3.9-inches, fact-fans).
The speakers offer high-quality sound with a decent clarity of bass and treble. To deliver such high-quality sound, Kensington has teamed-up with UK audio experts NXT Sound. With a background in the pro audio industry, NXT make systems for applications across the board - from mobile phones to flat-screen TVs, PA systems and in-car audio solutions. And the company has a new killer technology that's probably already driving some of the sounds you hear: NXT bi-directional flat-panel SurfaceSound.
Kensington's smallest product (4 x 2.7 x 1cm) may be the most interesting, an Accessory Adaptor for the iPod shuffle (£14.99). This connects to the shuffle's USB plug and emulates the standard Dock connection found on other iPods. The solution opens up the number of accessories an iPod shuffle owner can consider, though Kensington does not promise all dock-based products will work. Initial tests show it works fine with most docks, though remote controls won't work.
Also for iPod shuffles, the new Transporter for iPod shuffle costs £9.99. It consists of a belt-clip and a carabineer-style clip, which you can plug your iPod shuffle into using its USB outlet. Both connectors are robust, and unlikely to damage the iPod. In a nice little touch, both require users to depress small buttons on the narrow side of the devices in order to unclip the iPod, so the little music player is unlikely to accidentally fall off.
And a new dock
Kensington has also unveiled its all-new iPod dock, which supplements its existing Stereo Dock for iPods. The new multimedia-capable dock is called the Entertainment Dock 500. In common with the current generation of iPod docks, it's intended to be part of a home multimedia setup, capable of despatching sound from the iPod to a stereo system, and video or photos to a television. For television, it supports all iPods with a colour screen, though the sound features should work fine with any iPod that's equipped with a Dock Connector. It ships an audio/video cable and an RF remote control that offers: play/pause, volume up/down, skip/fast forward, skip back/rewind, will scroll up and down through playlists, and navigates through menus. The remote has a range of 15 metres (about 45-feet). The product costs £69.99.
In the US, Kensington has also launched an FM transmitter, which it hopes to launch in the UK, when the government completes its review of the legislation that presently makes such devices illegal to sell or to use in the UK.