Logitech To Join The Apple AirPlay Fray

Dave Zatz —  October 24, 2011 — 10 Comments

logitech-airplay

Within the next few weeks, Logitech intends to join the AirPlay fray with their aerodynamic Air Speaker.

At its most basic, when talking audio, Apple’s wireless streaming protocol is conceptually similar conceptually to Bluetooth — beam your music from one device to another. However, as AirPlay rides ones wireless network, it’s not limited to the same short distances as Bluetooth (~30 feet) and more complex interactions are supported. From Apple:

AirPlay does more than just stream your music to external speakers. It streams information about your music, too. Song titles, artists, album names, elapsed and remaining time, and album artwork all appear on AirPlay-enabled speakers with graphical displays. For the ultimate sonic panorama, you can stream your tunes to more than one room simultaneously, so you’ll never lose the beat, no matter where you are in the house.

We anticipate the Logitech Air Speaker will land at a similar price point as the recently released iHome iW1 ($300, reviewed here). Unfortunately, Logitech’s solution requires the speaker to be tethered to power at all times with no indication of a rechargeable battery. On the other hand, for those streaming and/or controlling AirPlay audio via an iPhone or iPad, Logitech kindly provides a “hideaway” dock for Speaker configuration… and iOS device charging.

Logitech has yet to release pricing or itemize the Speaker’s sonic capabilities, but their Amazon listing provides a few more nuggets of info:

  • The Logitech Air Speaker with Apple AirPlay technology uses your home Wi-Fi network to stream uncompressed audio from your iPad, iPhone, iPod touch or laptop.
  • Once you’re set up, any iOS device or computer on your Wi-Fi network is instantly connected. So you can stream tunes from your iPad , your friends’ iPhones or your girlfriend’s laptop no pairing required.
  • For years, we’ve been building some of your favorite and best sounding speakers and iPod docks. And now, we’ve crafted an AirPlay speaker that looks great in any room and delivers a big soundstage with impressively detailed, stereo sound.
  • Your Air Speaker even includes an Apple Dock Connector in a hideaway drawer. Use it to charge your iPad or iPhone when it’s low on power. Or use it to play music from your iPod classic or iPod nano.

As for my household, we prefer the agnostic and possibly more elegant Sonos solution over AirPlay and have been contemplating picking up a refurb Jawbone Jambox ($130) for lighter weight Bluetooth audio duties (including speakerphone) in the kitchen.

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10 responses to Logitech To Join The Apple AirPlay Fray

  1. I just recently upgraded from the B&W Zeppelin to the Zeppelin Air. In terms of sound quality, AirPlay is a digital format – it sends the original audio soundstream to the speakers, for no loss in audio quality. Also, what’s nice about AirPlay is that you can stream from a computer as well as a device, so that you have access to your entire library.

    I agree with your point about Apple vendor lock, but I, like many others, have succumbed to Apple a long time ago.

  2. Just scanned the FCC to see if this snuck by us recently, and indeed it did 10/7/11. I went ahead and uploaded the manual here and added two pics to the post.

  3. it is a little bit curved, like a bird or plane with wings

    i think Logitech has Boomboxes speakers, this one looks more @ the HiFi higher end

  4. Dave: Would you buy your Sonos system again today if you didn’t already have one?

  5. Steve, I really dig what Sonos has done and how they do it. I just wish the price was lower so more folks could partake (and so I could expand without guilt). However, what keeps them in the game is all these connected speakers are coming in at the same price range. If all someone wants is a single speaker, there are probably better (simpler, less expensive) options. But for whole home sound, Sonos is hard to beat if you’re comfortable with the price. I don’t feel like there’s anything better for what/where/how I listen (although I’d appreciate an optional smaller size unit with battery). By the same token, we probably don’t listen enough to justify the expense of outfitting the house. (And I bought an iMac a few weeks ago to replace my Macbook Air but ended up sticking it in the basement and continue to use the laptop. Logic/tech/finance doesn’t always work here.)

    Khaled, Yeah Logitech makes a number of speaker docks, a couple Blueooth speakers, and they also own the Squeezebox line. When I had my 50% off Logitech coupon, I almost picked up the Squeezebox Radio. Probably should have.

  6. Sonos is the best way to play music period.

  7. 1) I have a JamBox and LOVE IT. Can’t say enough nice things about it. Yes its CRAZY expensive. But its so simple to use and the sound really is awesome. So a refurb unit at that price seems like a GREAT idea. Highly recommended. And this from a guy who hates the Jawbone bluetooth earpieces…

    2) Before you jump in on an AirPlay speaker unit I’d recommend reading up the reviews of a number of these over on iLounge. I think if you’re just buying one of the little portable speakers that is going to have sonic accuracy issues anyway, you’d be better off buying a bluetooth speaker. It will save you money, the sound will be indistinguishable from an AirPlay version, and you won’t run into the delay and disconnect issues that AirPlay support seems to dictate. Now if you’re buying a Zepelin then maybe that’s a different story…

    Anyway, instead of this model I’d probably suggest the Logitech Wireless Boombox model for $150…

    http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/reviews/entry/logitech-wireless-boombox-for-ipad-iphone-ipod-touch/

  8. I Love my Jambox as well, and it works with my PC/Mac/Android/iOS and its one device. I dont know what more you could ask for.

  9. Alright, you guys convinced me. Since Sonos doesn’t (yet?) make a smaller, battery powered unit I just ordered the refurb Jambox. Looks like they’re out of grey and I went blue. I’m already envisioning using it with our iPad once Verizon releases a live streaming FiOS TV app.

  10. Dave, I have used my Jambox with the Slingplayer app on various platforms a good amount of times, and it always impresses me that you can watch tv with good quality audio while being totally wireless/battery powered

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