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The gadget I'm most excited about

It’s been a good week for the gadget obsessed, what with CES and Macworld. I practically wet my pants about the iPhone, but there are just a few things that hold it back from the “Gadget I’m most excited about right now”. Namely, the fact that we won’t get one until the end of the year, that it won’t allow third-party applications and not knowing what the price/contract tie-in will be in the UK.

Its not Apple TV either, although I was expecting it to be. What does Apple TV give me that my Front-Row equipped Macbook and a video cable doesn’t? 40gb isn’t enough for my music and videos, so presumably the rest has to be streamed, bringing a performance hit with it? Hmm, I hoped for more functionality. Now if they included a CD/DVD drive and integration with EyeTV we’d be talking.

No, the gadget I’m most wooping about is a new bluetooth device announced by Belkin. It’s the Bluetooth Dock Adaptor

The Belkin Bluetooth iPod adaptor

I’ve always thought that most remote controls fail the task of navigating and playing iPod music, and that the iPod itself is the best remote you’ll ever get. There have been solutions launched recently even look just like an iPod, with an LCD screen. Why bother recreating the iPod? Why not just use the iPod? Thats where this comes in.

No extra plugs, batteries or wires, just 2, small dock connected devices and you’re away.

It doesn’t stream video, but that’s less of a concern for me. Assuming there isn’t any loss of audio quality (I’ll wait for the iLounge review), the battery life of the iPod is the only real drawback. The Belkin TuneStage II will use a ‘pass through’ connector so that you can use the iPod adaptor while charging it, and I’m hoping this will have the same.

Now imagine this. Connect one of these to the dock connector on an iPhone, and navigate & play your music using the widescreen coverflow view. Now that’s what I’ve always wanted to play my music!

iPhone with coverflow view

Podspeakers

Thanks for all the suggestions for compact iPod speakers! As promised, for those that want to know what I went for, I ended up getting a set of Scandyna Micropod Speakers

Designed by the team that created the mollusc-esque Nautilus for B&W, they follow the same design aesthetic.

The fact that they look a little bit like my logo had nothing to with it of course. ;o)

These gorgeous speakers wowed me when I got to hear a demo with my iPod. I also fell in love with the shape and subtle off-white ceramic style colour (it’s not really that obvious in these photos). I believe off-white will be next years black (watch out for the powerbook).

All the possible options had one drawback, and with these it was lack of an all-in-one design, meaning more wires. But once I got them home and installed, I just don’t notice the wires. Also, as a previous commenter pointed out, none of the non-apple products feature a remote as well designed as the Apple Remote, but the Micropod remote is pretty neutral.

I’m using them without the ‘Sputnik Spikes’ so that they fit in the small area I intended them for. Scandyna will soon be releasing a ‘V Dock’ that will allow me to output video, as well as take auxiliary audio in. I’m so happy with these speakers, but when the V Dock comes out, I’ll be truly sorted!

Looking for an iPod speaker with...

One of the (many) reasons I don’t put advertising (other than Amazon affiliation), wishlists, or donation/begging buttons on Hicksdesign, is that occasionally I like to take advantage of the readership and ask them questions. It’s better than posting on forums, and has always come up trumps in the past. So I’m hoping that someone out there can help me!

I’m looking for a ipod speaker system that fulfils the following needs:

  • Decent sound, but doesn’t need to be ‘audiophile’ quality.
  • Must have Composite Video out
  • Must have External audio in
  • It doesn’t need to be portable, but an all-in-one Bose SoundDockish design is preferred. Small, compact (or at least ‘not very high’), and less wires. I currently use an Apple universal dock and remote, attached to a bulky stereo, but want something that will fit either underneath the TV with the DVD, or on a bookshelf.
  • Remote controllable.
  • Charges iPod while docked, extra points for being able to sync too (but not a deal breaker)

The video-out need rules out Apple’s iPod Hi-Fi, and the SoundDock. So far the best fit I’ve found is Altec Lansing’s iM7. There are a couple of niggles with the iM7, I’m not enamoured with the cradle bit that you put the iPod into, and Leigh is none too keen on the tube style design. Oh, and apparently the remote isn’t that great. The Klipsch iGroove “Klipsch iGroove” comes very close too (size, shape and styling and audio in), if it were not for the lack of video out.

I’ve been trawling the interwebs for a weeks, looking through all the very helpful reviews on iLounge. There are options like the new Logitech Audiostation (which loses points on style), and the Monitor i-Deck (which is another possibility), but maybe I’ve missed something new out there. I could get a non-ipod dedicated system such as a Denon DM33, but I’m looking for less wires if possible.

Hit me with your suggestions!

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Upcoming Talks

I sometimes pop up at conferences and waffle about design, icon creation in particular. Here's where I'll be next:

An Event Apart Chicago- "Icon Design Process" - 25-26th August 2014

Web Expo Guildford- "Icon Design Process" - 26th September 2014

Beyond Tellerrand Berlin – 3rd-5th November 2014

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