Gear4, one of the leaders in the iPad dock market, invited us to have a play with some of their up and coming iOS accessories. The biggest challenge Gear4 see for the rest of the year is the increasing adoption of wireless audio protocols in docks – both Bluetooth and AirPlay.
Gear4’s AirZone Series fully commits to Apple’s AirPlay standard with pretty much no other connectivity options – bar a line in port at the back. Aesthetically the results are very pleasing – it’s a very streamlined design with very few controls. They’ve put some thought into the set up too so you can be up and running with a simple button press – a welcome addition as this is been a minor headache with some of the other docks I’ve had to configure in my time. And beyond aesthetics it sounds pretty good too.
Bluetooth is still very much a player and there StreetParty Wireless is a very cool portable BlueTooth stereo speaker with a built-in speakerphone. In a similar fashion to the AirZone, controls are pretty minimal, with volume and mic control and little else, but I’m guessing Gear4 think (probably quite correctly) that your phone will be in your pocket anyway. You can get up to 8 hours out of the rechargeable lithium ion battery.
Staying put? The Xorb Wireless is a 2.1 30W stereo Bluetooth speaker with excellent bass and a great bowling ball-esque design.
The most interesting dock on display was the “appcessory” the Renew SleepClock – a non-contact sleep monitor and bedside speaker. Tracking your sleep cycle, the Renew SleepClock wakes you at *exactly* the right moment, theoretically leaving your refreshed and ready to tackle the day. It also monitors all your sleep patterns so you can see your “sleep efficency” (and if someone asks if you slept well you can give them exact measurements). It does all this though a built-in sensors so you don’t have to strap yourself into things before you sleep.
For more details head to www.gear4.com