Believe it or not, iPod speakers were once rare objects--and Bose's SoundDock was one of the first to hit the market back in 2004. Since then, the company has followed up with the SoundDock II ($299) and the SoundDock Portable ($399), even as the iPod speaker category has become completely commoditized (nowadays, there are plenty of sub-$100 clock radios with built-in iPod docks). For the 2009-2010 buying season, Bose has gone back to the drawing board and produced the SoundDock 10.
Bose says it worked for several years on this new speaker system for the iPod and iPhone, with the lofty goal of building a product that can deliver "audio performance previously unattainable from a one-piece speaker system for iPod." The SoundDock 10 is bigger and more expensive (costing a whopping $599) than previous SoundDock models, but it's still relatively compact, measuring 17 inches wide by 9 inches high by 10 inches deep, and has a nice clean, understated design that gives the whole system a classy look.
The centerpiece of the unit is a hefty, custom woofer, bracketed by two Bose Twiddler transducers (no, that's not a new social-networking site; it's a combination of a high-frequency transducer and midrange driver). The woofer alone adds a lot of weight to the unit, and while the speaker can be moved around the house easily enough, the SoundDock 10 weighs a beefy 18.9 pounds (that's three times as much as the aforementioned SoundDock Series II and SoundDock Portable). Held in hand, this model feels quite substantial and well built.
So, does Bose deliver on its lofty sound goals?