Apple iPod Hi-Fi

Minimally Minimal:

The only thing people seem to love to talk about more than Apple’s success are their failures. The iPod Hi-Fi is considered one of the classic Apple failures. Apple discontinued it just a year after its launch and it received universally lukewarm reviews. I’ve always had a crush on it though. It’s a beautiful piece of hardware and I’ve always loved the idea of having a speaker that pairs perfectly with my iPod.

This is one of those products I wish I could sit down with Ive over a beer and ask, “What were you thinking!?”

  • Terry Grier

    I have one and personally it is still the best portable speaker I have owned. I think the design was great. If it had airplay built in – JACKPOT.

  • Dave

    I own two of these and I agree with you Terry – such a great product.

  • Jeff

    Shawn – why don’t you like it? I saw that post yesterday seeing the Hi-Fi for the first time, and thought it was absolutely beautiful.

    • Shawn King

      Out of character, high price, poorly designed (I hate any set up with the iOS device sticking out like that), not very portable (handles notwithstanding), “razor sharp edges”, mediocre sound and finally, dumb name. :)

      Is that enough? :)

      • Sebastian Paul

        There’s at least one table in every of the bigger Apple Stores dedicated to not very portable, expensive Hi-Fi-systems, where the iOS device sticks out^^

        • Shawn King

          Agreed. And I hate them all. :)

          • Sigivald

            Allowable – de gustibus and all that, but I think the market has spoken pretty definitively on this one, and thus vindicated Ive’s design in that respect.

          • Shawn King

            Agreed. I’m not saying my design aesthetic is anywhere near Ive’s just that I think it’s a poor design for many of these kinds of devices.

          • kyron

            but your commentary doesn’t imply that — your commentary (asking Ive “What were you thinking!”) quite clearly implies that it was an obviously poorly designed, failure of an idea (to anyone). but thats a notion not as obvious as you’d like it to be at all.

            man this blog. when’s Jim coming back?

          • Shawn King

            As I said earlier, IMO it was poorly designed and lack of sales make it obvious it was a failure.

            Sorry you don’t feel mine and Dave’s work isn’t up to Jim’s standards.

            And Jim never left.

      • kyron

        after reading the review i can’t agree that it’s poorly designed at all. its price is in-line w/ other units today. and as for portability, it’s the size of a shoebox, has batteries and handles — if that’s not portable for room-filling sound, i dont know what is. sure beats the junk my friends bring to mobile parties.

  • Terry

    A little pricey, even for its time.

  • macinforo

    Mediocre sound? It has no competitor even today, after 10 years, maybe more…

    • Shawn King

      The “beauty” of discussing things like this is their subjectivity. I wasn’t impressed by the sound.

      • macinforo

        I agree. If you want to sell yours, let me know. :)

        • Shawn King

          LOL I had a review unit. It went back. :)

          • macinforo

            Well… At least I tried… Again :)

  • Gerard J

    I worked at an Authorized Apple Reseller when these came out. The sound was ok, on par with other similar offerings but at a higher cost. The biggest “duh” to me was the iPod sitting on the top of the unit; unsecured. We sold a LOT more of the Altec Lansing In-Motion units since they contained the iPod, cost less and sounded slightly better.

    • kyron

      not an obvious “duh”, and still commonplace today.

      i really dont understand the concern — somebody wielding baseball bats in your apartment??

      • Gerard J

        The Hi-Fi was designed to be portable; it could run on batteries. Are you telling me that if you took the thing to a picnic that the iPod sitting on top is not a concern? Other offers enclosed and protected the iPod while still allowing full access to the screen. Sure if the thing were AC power only it’s a non-issue.

  • kyron

    This is one of those products I wish I could sit down with Ive over a beer and ask, “What were you thinking!?

    i dont own one, but after reading the review it sounds finely crafted. what obvious flaws do you see with it?

  • Moeskido

    I understand this might have been developed to address some of the market that grew out of the popularity of the better table radios that appeared back then.

    It just seems oddly specialized to me, not the least because the iPod sits up on top of it. If looks to me like something Jobs should have dismissed as a hotel’s bedside alarm clock.

  • Billy Razzle

    I always thought the worst part was the price. It was $50 more than the Bose dock I bought 3-5 months before the iPod Hi-Fi came out. If it was ~$50 less than the Bose, I bet they would’ve sold a lot more.