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Engadget's CES 2013 Preview: Audio

Joe Pollicino
12.07.12
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With CES looming like an electrically charged storm of news and announcements, it's time for us to give you our best bets on what you'll see come January. During the month of December, we'll bring you a series of CES preview posts, forecasting what you can expect when the news deluge begins. For more of what's to come, check out our hub.

Audio companies tend to march to their own drumbeats when it comes to new goods, but CES usually brings us a few crowd pleasers. We saw a bigger push for wireless at CES 2011 with the onset of AirPlay adoption and further dives into Bluetooth-equipped wares. Since then, nothing too exciting has shown up at the event, with companies focusing on expanding and evolving their existing product lines.

While it's hard to know for sure, we don't expect to see anything that'll be exceptionally innovative on a widespread scale -- mostly. Naturally, you can count on a bigger assortment of wireless solutions, and likely the first big showing of the end of days for the speaker dock -- excluding anything that Apple's Lightning connector might make its way onto. Still, the idea of the dock can live on with additions like Qi inductive charging, as we've seen from the likes of JBL and TDK already. The appearance of still more celebrity-endorsed headphones is certainly something to expect as well, even if the trend has already jumped the shark -- don't tell Fiddy. That said, major companies like Sennheiser have joined the headphone bandwagon in their own ways, and we are likely to see more cans in the $100 to $400 range with street-focused looks and audiophile DNA. Of course, CES also sets aside a chunk of space in the LVCC for those into HiFi audio, with many boutique brands showing off their latest and best -- usually with price tags to make your wallet cringe.

What has us really excited, though? We're hearing talk that transparent speaker technology is poised to make a comeback. Imagine the shell of your tablet, smartphone or laptop also serving as an essentially invisible speaker. Aside from the prospect of even svelter devices, the tech has the potential to sound miles better than the tinny-sounding speaker drivers most of our gadgets currently use.

One thing is for sure, much of what we'll see will be in the early stages of development -- even products that seem ready to roll have taken more than six months to hit retail in the past. Aside from all that, stay patient, because sometimes surprises come when we least expect them.

Darren Murph contributed to this post.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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