Bluetooth and AirPlay compatibility and industrial design meant to stand out on a salesfloor are the “sell” features that form the basis of Harman’s newest JBL and Harman/Kardon SKUs, which include portable-device-docking speaker systems, mini speakers, headphones and a lineup of soundbars.
Some models are available now, and some, which were unveiled at the recent Berlin-held IFA electronics show, will ship stateside in mid-October.
The clear acrylic Harman/Kardon SoundSticks speaker system, introduced in 2001 and now part of the Museum of Modern Art’s collection, has been updated with Bluetooth streaming (SoundSticks Wireless; $229). The system is anchored by a six-inch sub and features eight full-range drivers and 40 watts of amplification.
The JBL SoundFly wireless speaker line, which plugs directly into any power outlet, consists of the Air (AirPlay-compatible) and BT (Bluetooth-compatible) versions ($199 and $179, respectively). The Air can takes streaming media from any room and up to four Airs can be controlled simultaneously; the BT does not require a separate Wi-Fi network.
The JBL OnBeat Venue ($199) docking station for iOS devices ($199) uses both Bluetooth and Harman’s TrueStream sound-enhancing technology.
JBL’s OnBeat Awake ($139) is designed for bedside use and features an alarm clock function as well as an iOS docking station.
The company is offering a trio of small-footprint speaker options in either black or white aimed at travelers and designed with a built-in bass-boosting port. The tube-shaped JBL Flip ($99) with Bluetooth has a rechargeable battery that plays for five hours on a charge. JBL’s burger-shaped Micro Wireless ($59) is also Bluetooth-compatible. The Micro form factor is also available in a wired version (the $39 JBL Micro II) that is daisy-chainable.
The under three-inch-square BTA10 Bluetooth audio adapter ($59) is being positioned as a holiday stocking stuffer that converts legacy audio gear into Bluetooth-ready components.