The Beats by Dr. Dre badge has usually been attached to headphones and the occasional laptop or smartphone. We’ve never really seen it attached to dedicated speakers, however, and that’s where both an FCC filing and a sighting at UK retailer HMV’s online store raise a few eyebrows. The House that Dre Built appears on the edge of launching the Beats Pill, a Bluetooth wireless speaker with four drivers and a shape that more than explains the medicinal name. While we don’t know just how much of that signature Beats thump we’ll get, we do know from the FCC that the Pill can serve as a speakerphone, carries an aux-in jack and will last for a typical 8.5 hours on its USB-rechargeable lithium-ion battery. There’s also signs of a red version of Beats’ Mixr headphones coming at the same time. HMV has publicly scoured its pages of any trace of a ship date or price for the Pill, but cached copies point to a £170 ($276) price and a release around September 28th — not necessarily trustworthy figures, but they may be in the ballpark. Our only question is whether or not we’ll get a dose of the Pill in the US.
JBL is known for its portable speakers, but an FCC filing has revealed that it’s willing to make speakers that are almost inconspicuous. The Soundfly BT would represent your everyday Bluetooth speaker save for the very uncommon ability to optionally plug directly into a wall outlet, skipping the power cord. Shades of the previous-generation AirPort Express, anyone? There’s not much mystery in other areas, but the 20W stereo output is unusually powerful for something small enough to hang off of a hotel room’s power port. Between the manual and live photos, about the only riddles left are the Soundfly BT’s official release date and price.
Traditional speaker docks are so 2010. This year, AirPlay is in, and Philips was on hand to demo five new wireless speaker models at the CEA LineShows in NYC, set to roll out beginning later this month through the holiday season. Its flagship Fidelio SoundSphere DS9800W will ship in June with a price tag of about $800, but didn’t appear willing to pair with the iPhone Philips had on hand at the show. We did go ears-on with the more affordable DS8800W, however, which filled the small demo room with deep, rich Fire and Rain, sans-wires — and can do the same in your own home when it ships for $400 beginning next month. That model isn’t nearly as sleek as the non-functional SoundSphere, or its smaller DS6800W counterpart, which will hit stores in time for the holidays with a $500 MSRP. Philips also showed off its 360-degree DS3881W and compact AD7000W — both of which also include AirPlay support, and will ship for $330 and $230, respectively, by the holiday season. Jump past the break for a look at all five models.
Technically, we suppose Logitech already made a play for the tablet accessories market when it launched a rebranded Zaggmate keyboard case earlier this year, but today the peripheral manufacturer’s getting serious about slates with the launch of two new portable products. Lacking a Smart Cover to keep your iPad 2 on edge? You could try the $70 Logitech Tablet Keyboard pictured above, which comes with a hardshell sleeve that doubles as a tablet stand and dedicated iOS or Android shortcuts. The keyboard itself is slick, roomy and somewhat plasticky, with a definite Notion Ink Adam vibe. There’s also a redesigned Zaggmate, now known as the $100 Logitech Keyboard Case, which comes with “a more intuitive keyboard layout and improved keystrokes for even more comfortable typing” — a claim we weren’t able to test — as well as a rebranded $100 Logitech Z515 Bluetooth speaker system, and a $50 Bluetooth mouse. Pricey? Definitely. Worthwhile? Decide for yourself later this month, when they’re scheduled to hit shelves.
What’s that, an alien egg? Nope. Memory foam iPillow? No, silly, it’s a Zeppelin, a Zeppelin Air more specifically. Bowers & Wilkins brought us the first iPod-centric Zeppelin in the middle of the great iPod dock flood of ’07. A few years later they downsized and brought us a mini version. The logical extension after the advent of AirPlay is here: a Zeppelin that does its thang without wires. We’ve been beaming music to it for a few weeks now — wanna find out how our relationship has been? Click through, captain.
Add one more to the list of manufacturers supporting Apple’s AirPlay. Philips just announced its Fidelio SoundSphere speaker that supports WiFi music streaming over Apple’s new media sharing “standard” from your PC or Mac iTunes library or from any iOS device. Unfortunately, Philips isn’t providing any useful detail about these speakers with free-floating tweeters and 360-degree sound. But hey, if you’re the kind who buys speakers based on appearance alone, then the €799 (about $1,100 — nearly twice as much as the Zeppelin Air) price tag should be no problem when they hit Europe sometime in May. Press release and bonus pic showing the bundled dock after the break.