"Speaker docks" are a great way to listen to your iPhone, iPod or iPad's music without headphones. Plus, they charge up the device at the same time. But what if you want to play on your portable Apple device at the same time?The iHome iW1 ($299.99) is one of the first few -enabled speaker docks to utilize Apple's wireless streaming technology. As long as you've got a Wi-Fi network, you can tap to play music, podcasts and audiobooks from a digital device and you'll hear the audio through the speaker. You can also stream music between iTunes on a PC or Mac and the iW1, too.Setting up the iW1 is a breeze. Simply download the and you'll be prompted to connect the iOS device to the back of the speaker via a USB cable. This is only required once to synchronize the devices together (unless you want to charge up your music player). Now, when listening to music on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, tap the AirPlay logo and select iW1 to begin the stream.You can play and pause remotely, adjust volume, navigate between tracks and switch playlists. There's also a small remote included with the iW1, if desired, plus there are touch-sensitive buttons on top of the unit, too.Keep in mind the speaker is rechargeable, therefore you can take it with you, say, onto a backyard deck and rely on the lithium-ion battery for up to 10 hours. When stationary for a while, place the iW1 on a small cradle (included) that plugs into the wall and starts charging up the battery again.As far as sound quality is concerned, the iW1 impresses with its Bongiovi Acoustics Digital Power Station technology and four active speakers, yielding premium audio performance. While most of the iHome speakers are $99 "clock docks" for a night table, you can expect much better audio quality from the $300 iW1 and its well-balanced highs, lows and mids. It doesn't sound as awesome as the AirPlay-enabled B&W Zeppelin Air, mind you, but the Bowers & Wilkins product is roughly twice the price, so it's not quite a fair comparison.Overall, the iHome iW1 (and accompanying iHome Connect app) is an excellent audio accessory for iPad, iPhone or iPod touch owners. It offers wireless connectivity and convenient portability, all packed into a great-sounding and cool-looking unit.
Each speaker is powered by a rechargeable battery. To charge the batteries, iHome provides a special split USB cable that also has an integrated 3.5mm minijack cable to plug into the audio input on your computer or an audio device such as an iPhone or an MP3 player. You can charge via your PC's USB port, or invest in a USB wall charger. (Travel with a , for instance, and you'll be able to juice up the speakers and your iPod or music phone with a single wall wart; the ably powered both the iHome speakers and our iPod Touch.)
We are unable to find iTunes on your computer. To download the free app iHome Connect, the setup app for iHome AirPlay speakers by iHome, get iTunes now.