There are plenty of awesome speaker docks out there for your iPad, iPhone or iPod, but finding one that looks as good as it sounds takes a bit of effort. We've done the hard part for you and rounded up five of the most stylish boomboxes you can get for your iOS device right now.
We can't vouch for audio quality as we haven't been able to test these ourselves, but the criteria for this list focuses more on appearance than hard specs. We narrowed the field down by eliminating the ugly ones, selecting brands with a history of producing high-quality audio, and only including those that are available for purchase or pre-order now. (There are some stunning prototypes out there, but they're no good to us if they're just concepts and not actually for sale.) Of course, stylish usually also means expensive.
Jarre AeroPad Two
We did a double-take when we first saw Jarre's stunning AeroPad Two back in April. It's 860mm wide and weighs about 10kg, so it's not really meant to be a portable device, but it more than makes up for its bulk with its gorgeous bamboo wood design. The AeroPad Two's minimalist package includes stainless steel and chromium finishings, and those UFO-like pods you see on either side house four speakers with a power rating of 30 watts each. It comes with a standard 30-pin dock connector that will take your iPad, iPhone or iPod, as well as a USB port and auxiliary input so you can play music from non-Apple devices. There's an 80W subwoofer built-in as well as Bluetooth functionality for wireless streaming.
The AeroPad Two is available for pre-order now at Jarre's website for an expected shipping date of December 2012. It's also available in black and white finishes, but we reckon the bamboo option is really special and decor-agnostic. It's definitely not cheap at €699 (about $895), but delivery is free worldwide. [Jarre]
Philips Fidelio DS9000
Philips' DS9000 docking speaker for iPad, iPhone and iPod has been kicking around for a couple of years, but its timeless award-winning design makes it worthy of a spot on our list. The DS9000's 592mm wide curved chassis encases two 1-inch tweeters, two 4-inch woofers and Philips' passive crossover design for improved sound quality and reduced distortion. It also comes with a proximity sensor that dims the lights on the speaker dock when you walk away, a remote control, bluetooth connectivity and auxiliary input. Philips also has its own iOS app that you can use to control playback, access over 7000 radio stations, an alarm clock, weather data and more.
Who knew that Yamaha could churn out more than old-school pianos and motorbikes? This crazy-cool speaker dock for iPhone and iPod could double as a work of art in your living room. The ISX-800 stands 997mm tall and is attached to a half-moon base that lets you position it flat up against a wall. You can also detach the stand and hang it on the wall like a picture using optional brackets. A two-way four-speaker system with dual tweeters and dual woofers is neatly tucked behind a metal grille that comes in your choice of black, white, purple or green.
The ISX-800 also comes with DAB+ radio, a USB port, auxiliary input, a remote control, Yamaha's IntelliAlarm technology and — interestingly — a CD player. The whole thing weighs 12kg, but that's OK considering it can literally hold itself up. Yamaha's recommended retail price is $999, but there are online retailers selling it for less. [Yamaha]
Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 8
If you want a speaker dock that stands out for all the right reasons, you can't go past the BeoSound 8 for iPad, iPhone and iPod. In true Bang & Olufsen style, its quirky form factor and distinctive aluminium finish somehow manages to be sophisticated and minimalist at the same time. Inside its 661mm wide body, you'll find a set of two-way systems that can be tweaked for the best sound performance in any space by simply flicking the room adaption switch. There's USB and auxiliary input 'round the back, and it also comes with a remote control, table stand and wall bracket.
The BeoSound 8 weighs about 4kg and comes in a variety of colours. Unfortunately, it's not portable since it needs to be plugged in to work, and you'll be asked to part with, well, way too much for the privilege of owning one. You'll have to head to your nearest Bang & Olufsen store to see if it's worth what they want for it. There's also a BeoPlayer app that you can download from the iTunes App Store — but that'll cost you another $17. [Bang & Olufsen]
Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air
The peculiar conehead design makes the Zeppelin Air one of the most recognisable speaker docks around. The new and improved version launched last year with new drivers and upgraded amps — an upgrade that had everyone raving about the Zeppelin Air's acoustic performance.