iPod HiFi 2.0
The day the iPod HiFi was released I was totally convinced Apple had solved a problem that had plagued all of my previous non-traditional-hifi purchases: crap quality.
I admit I couldn’t see the point of batteries - It’s heavy and not really portable, so why bother with batteries or precious keynote seconds talking about portability? I believe this set the wrong tone for a product that really lived up to the other half of the marketing story: room filling sound.
iPod HiFi is loud. Really loud. Not only loud, but a speaker designed specificlly for playing compressed music. Honest reproduction of what turned out to be the main form of music we listen to today (not that you would have believed it then). There is something warm and pleasing, even at relatively low volume, about the HiFi’s speakers that makes it suitable for most kinds if music. Even as an everyday TV/Movie/Video game speaker for a small-ish space it’s a better than good performer. I’m yet to throw something at it and be disappointed - It’s no B&O or Bose, but it is far more competent than most sub-$500 equivalents around today - strictly as a powered speaker.
The price was always mooted as the reason the HiFi failed, to my eyes..err.. ears, the B&O A8 would be a great replacement the day my HiFi dies. But it’s almost a $1300AUD replacement, it does add some nice up to date features like AirPlay and like most B&O products is just as pleasing visually as it is aurally.
At the time, iPod was the thing Apple was doing. Using the iPod name seemed sensible at the time, why not try to leverage the biggest brand you have? In hindsight it was likely a mistake. Framing the HiFi as an accessory to the iPod kind of painted it into a corner. Which is unfortunate, because it deserved it’s own place. Perhaps Apple HiFi would have been a more fitting name.
The timing wasn’t really right, either. Apple had only just dropped the ‘Computer’ off the company name and an ‘over priced iPod accessory’ really didn’t fit. It was though, a very early glimpse of future(today)-consumer-electronics Apple.
Over time I’ve learnt that the HiFi is a great all rounder, what it lacks in modern features it makes up for in punch, right in the face.
A good quality centre speaker can make a huge difference to your average surround setup. Consider that difference in compared to your average TV speakers, adding or using exclusively an iPod HiFi. I can easily imagine Apple re-making this kind of difference accessible in a way only Apple can.
A visually simple, powerful, AirPlay enabled HiFi to replace or augment your crappy TV speakers.
With the array of replacements and accessory manufactures, you could argue there’s no point Apple resurrecting the HiFi, I have no idea if buying Beats means Apple is interested in getting back into the speaker game…but if it does, I hope it means I’ll finally get my Apple HiFi.