Seen @ Macworld is Appletell’s column highlighting our experiences at the recent Macworld/iWorld Expo. Appletell stopped by several booths that featured interesting products; some were longtime pillars of Macworld with updates to established products, many were new companies showing innovative and exciting product for the first time, and a few featured accessories, apps, and products we didn’t even know we needed before we hit the Moscone West show floor. Here we feature buzz from the show floor and details of our conversations with the makers, inventors, and companies whose products were on display. Be sure to check out our coverage of other exhibitors from Macworld/iWorld 2013.
A wireless future was in full evidence at Macworld, with a dramatic decline in the number of exhibitors showing off speaker docks. That’s not to say there weren’t a healthy number of speakers present, but most of these relied on Bluetooth or AirPlay streaming, which Apple is no doubt cheering as it frees them from any interdependency between accessory makers and the type of connections used on iDevices. Scosche is certainly catering to the cord cutting crowd with their tiny-but-powerful boomSTREAM mini, one of Appletell’s favorite products form the show floor.
Set Speakers to Rumble
The move to the Lightning connector caused a great deal of consternation in the Apple community, as it broke with a decade of tradition and rendered many accessories instantly obsolete. While the reasons for this change were totally valid (like the fact that the 30-pin connector still had pins for Firewire signals!), it also heralded a massive shift in how we connect our devices to accessories. Just as iOS 5 freed us from synching with a computer, Bluetooth and AirPlay now present an option for getting your tunes to a stereo without a dedicated physical connection.
The musical convenience of the iPhone and iPod is rooted in the simple phrase used to launch the first iPod: 5,000 songs in your pocket. Unfortunately, speakers that make those 5,000 songs sound good usually don’t fit nicely in a pocket, but Scosche’s engineering talent has brought a little something special to the boomSTREAM mini. In addition to offering a well-balanced and defined sound (typical of the excellent sound quality represented in Scosche’s’ headphones), the boomSTREAM mini packs a surprising punch: it uses the surface it sits on as a passive bass amplifier.
Small speakers became majorly good at producing clear and accurate mid to high notes back in the ’90s as laptops forced them to shrink, but one thing a small speaker simply can’t do is crank out big bass without assistance. The boomSTREAM mini literally transforms your coffee table, desk, or counter into a subwoofer, and manages to deliver a bass punch unmatched by any other speaker this size—enough sound came out of this tiny speaker to be clearly audible even over the dull roar of the Macworld expo show floor.
Ready to Travel
The boomSTREAM mini is tiny enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and it manages to pack all this sound and a 7-hour rechargeable battery in its tiny frame. Onboard controls let you Play/Pause, skip tracks, and control the volume of your audio playback, so you have the freedom to move the speaker from room to room without dragging along your audio source.
For older devices without Bluetooth, there’s even a 3.5mm (standard 1/8″) aux in jack for connecting virtually any audio device, though almost all Apple’s devices ship with Bluetooth now so you really can ditch the cables.
Available in blue, black, red, or silver, you can pick up a boomSTREAM mini direct from Scosche for $60.
Be sure to check out our coverage of other exhibitors from Macworld / iWorld 2013.