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iHome fires first shot in AirPlay speaker wars

iHome reveals details on its first Apple AirPlay compatible portable speaker system, the iW1, including new photos and specs.

Photo of the iHome iW1 AirPlay speaker.
The iHome iW1 is one of the first portable speaker systems we've seen announced that is compatible with Apple's AirPlay wireless audio standard. iHome

Just as wireless Bluetooth speakers are starting to get some love from the surge of iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users over the past few years, Apple's new AirPlay wireless audio standard is setting out to make them obsolete.

Apple's own description page for its AirPlay technology (a part of iOS 4.2 and Apple TV) specifically mentions compatibility with the Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin and upcoming Denon and Marantz receivers, but leaves out specifics on anything portable or affordable. Fortunately, iHome seems to have a solution for the rest of us.

The iHome iW1 is the company's first AirPlay-compatible system. It's also the first we've seen announced from any manufacturer that offers a built-in rechargeable battery for portability.

Today, the iHome iW1 product page includes new tantalizing details and photos, detailing its unique charging base, a capacitive touch control strip at the top, Bongiovi acoustic design and audio enhancement DSP, Class-D amplification, and support for an external charging dock for an iPhone, iPod, or iPad.

Predictably, the two most important details (pricing and availability) are still unknown. Pricing on iHome products is typically very reasonable, though, and we think its fair to say they would be pretty upset if the iW1 misses the holiday buying frenzy.

Also, is it just me, or does the iW1 look like the spitting image of the ill-fated Sony S-AIR wireless speaker system?