That larger JBL speaker dock looks familiar, doesn't it? Near the end of September, Harman gave us a peak at its latest consumer audio products. Curiously, however, a slew of new iOS-focused speaker docks were shown off, each lacking a Lightning connector. Today that's changed, as JBL has announced a duo of systems that are equipped with Lightning docks. To start, the larger unit is dubbed as the OnBeat Venue LT ($200). This speaker is essentially a Lightning-enhanced version of the 30-pin loaded Venue we recently spent time with, featuring the same 30 watts of power and Bluetooth connectivity with Apt-X support. Like it's sibling, the dock can be set flush with the front, and better yet, you'll even be able to dock your iPad mini into it. Sizing things down a bit is the OnBeat Micro, a $100 bedside system that'll play nice with the iPhone 5 and the new iPod nano. While it doesn't benefit from Harman's Bluetooth know-how (a pricing consideration, as we're told), it can be loaded with four AAA batteries for quick bouts away from wall power.
Based on a quick listening session, we can report that the Venue LT sounded very full and clear. Even with the optional bass- or vocal-boosts enabled, it didn't seem like the speakers were having trouble pushing out high levels of volume. The Micro on the other hand sounded decidedly tinny, which we're frankly not surprised about given the size. Both systems are compatible with JBL's MusicFlow app as well, giving you some extended options for tweaking EQ. The rigs felt fairly sturdy, but we were immediately able to notice some niggles with the Lighting connector. Our iPhone 5 and Harman's iPad mini and iPod nano clicked into place easily with the connector, but the hinge it's built on is very loose without any tension. A slight knock could potentially send an iOS device leaning forward, which would have us concerned in a party situation (the problem is more apparent on the Venue). Secondly, the docks won't play nice with common cases like Speck's CandyShell, so you'll need to have your devices naked before docking. JBL noted the quirks, stating that they have little control over the behavior of connector itself, as it's supplied by Apple.
JBL expects that the OnBeat Venue LT and Micro will be the only Lightning-packing speaker docks for at least the holidays, so check out the press release after the break for more details if you're interested. As for us? We'd say the Venue LT is definitely worth a look, but we'd just as easily pass on the Micro given the myriad options out there for smaller Bluetooth-equipped speakers.