Back in 2006, Altec Lansing released the M602 iPod Home Audio System. Billed as a "high-end home system," the M602 initially carried a $199 MSRP, but its price has since dropped to closer to $100. Now the company is offering the T612, which, aside from its darker color scheme, looks identical to the M602 but is compatible not only with iPods but also iPhones. It also features some technology that makes it "immune to mobile phone interference," which means you can leave your iPhone's cell radio on while it's in the dock--and even take calls. That's a step up from all other speaker docks to date that require you to switch the iPhone to airplane mode to avoid the annoying interference that the Apple phone (and all other GSM cell phones) tend to cause when they're placed in close proximity to speakers.
Like the M602, the T612 is designed to sit on a table or shelf, or it can be mounted on a wall. (The latter requires mailing in a $3 check to cover shipping and handling charges for a "free" mounting bracket.) It's not as heavy as the boombox-esque Altec Lansing iM7, but it weighs at 5 pounds and measures 14 inches wide, 5.4 inches deep, and 8.2 inches high. The upright single chassis design is relatively compact, but it feels reasonably substantial when you take it out of the box.
Most iPod speakers are attractively designed, and the Altec Lansing M602 is no exception. Its silver and black motif lends itself a bit more to black iPods, but it pairs well enough with other colors, too. While you can connect other MP3 players via the auxiliary input on the back of the unit, this model doesn't ship with a universal stand that allows you to prop non-Apple MP3 players in the center-front tray. Not a big deal, but worth pointing out.
The T612 carries over the blue LED light subtheme--the T612 has them on front, under the speaker grille, to indicate volume and bass/treble levels. What's a little confusing is that to adjust the bass and/or treble levels, you have to hold down the corresponding button, then press the plus/minus volume button to raise and lower levels.
The earlier M602 includes a USB port that lets you to sync your iPod with iTunes on your Windows or Mac machine. That's missing in this model. Also gone is the video output (you know, the little yellow jack you're used to seeing on TVs) that gives you the option of displaying your iPod and iPhone videos on a TV. A small wireless remote is included, but it offers limited functionality--you can skip tracks forward and back, pause and play, and adjust the volume and bass/treble levels. Navigating through the menus on your iPod/iPhone is not possible, though.