Bose has been busy the last few weeks. First, it announced its new QuietComfort 15 noise-canceling headphones. And now it's introduced another high-profile product with a double-digit model number, the SoundDock 10.
Bose says it's been working for several years on this new speaker system for the iPod and iPhone (yes, it has GSM shielding), and its goal was to build a product that delivered "audio performance previously attainable from a one-piece speaker system for iPod."
The SoundDock is bigger and more expensive ($599) than previous SoundDock models, but it's still relatively compact, measuring 17 inches wide, 9 inches high, and 10 inches deep. The centerpiece of the unit is a hefty, custom subwoofer, and 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 subwoofer alone adds a lot of weight to the unit, and while the speaker can be moved around the house easily enough, Bose reps told me the SoundDock 10 weighs three times as much as the SoundDock Series II ($299) and SoundDock Portable ($399). In case you're wondering, those models will stay in the line.
As far as extra features go, you don't get a whole lot, but there's an audio input for other audio devices and a composite video output for showing iPod/iPhone images or videos when connected to a TV (I wish it was a component video connection).
Bose also has equipped the SoundDock 10 with a proprietary interchangeable docking architecture, which it says is designed to "future-proof" the system. We tend to think it's also a way for Bose to sell add-ons for the system, like the optional Bluetooth dock that will be available at launch and cost an additional $149. As you might imagine, that Bluetooth dock allows you to stream music wirelessly from your iPod Touch or iPhone to the SoundDock 10, using your Apple device as a remote.
Of course, for 600 bucks you'd have hoped Bose would have integrated the Bluetooth into the unit, but this is America, and capitalism still lives--at least in Framingham, Mass., where Bose is based.
I got to listen to the SoundDock 10 at a special event in Manhattan and I have to say it sounded very good for an iPod speaker system (it better, for $600, right?). Bose is touting its ability to fill a large room with sound and indeed it played loudly and clearly in a room that appeared to be a good 25 feet wide and 40 feet long--and had high ceilings.
In an unusual move for Bose, the company actually encouraged reporters to dock their own iPods or iPhones in sample systems and listen to their own music. In the past, Bose has exclusively demoed its own tracks in very controlled presentations to make its points about the systems' sound quality.
The SoundDock 10 will be available next week and we should get a review unit soon, so check back for our full review.