We've been dying to play with a third-party AirPlay
speaker system ever since Apple opened the tech up, and iHome was happy to oblige here at CES with the new iW1
. The wireless speaker system features two three-inch woofers and two one-inch tweeters with Bongiovi audio processing, a built-in lithium-ion battery with a grab-and-go charging base, and capacitive touch controls -- and, just as we suspected, AirPlay compatibility courtesy of BridgeCo
. iHome's also developed a new iOS configuration app called iHome Connect that'll help you get the iW1 on your WiFi network quickly, although regular WPS setup is also supported. You can also charge your iPhone or iPod by plugging into the USB port in the back -- iHome is packing a cable in the box.
Streaming from iOS was just as simple as with the Apple TV or Airport Express, and we only saw minimal lag between control inputs like volume and track changes, just as with an all-Apple setup. Interestingly, iOS only supports point-to-point AirPlay streaming right now, so you can only use a single speaker at a time, but if you're streaming from iTunes you can hit multiple speakers at once, regardless of vendor. iHome is still tuning the audio performance, so we'll reserve judgment on that until we get a review unit -- which should happen when this guy ships for $300 in Summer 2011. Video after the break.
iHome iW1 AirPlay speaker dock hands-on