Sublime Sounds: 10 Uniquely Stylish iPhone + iPod Speakers
The speakers, amplifier or dock you use with your iPhone or iPod can say as much about your personality as your device’s case does. For that reason, more and more people are bucking the trend of the same old iPhone speakers and going for something with a bit more flash. These 10 iPhone and iPod speakers not only help you hear the music – they help you proclaim your individual style.
Children of the 70s and 80s will probably appreciate this fun iPhone speaker the most. Shaped like an old-school cassette tape, the IMIXID mixed tape speaker definitely isn’t powerful enough to play the soundtrack to your next epic house party, but it is perfect for listening to some Depeche Mode while sitting at your desk. Thanks to a flip-up USB plug, the speaker is rechargeable and doesn’t need batteries.
The Koostik is an electricity-free iPhone amplifier; it uses a hollow wooden box to embolden the sound from your iPhone’s own small speaker. Each one is lovingly hand-crafted from solid wood by a woodworker named Jim who sees the Koostik as the perfect partnership between technology and nature.
Although only a conceptual product and not actually available for purchase, this origami-inspired speaker is a fantastic marriage of form and function. The Flexible Speaker starts out as a small pyramid, but as you unfold and expand it into a series of connected triangles the sound gets louder and louder. There are no buttons or remote controls to deal with – only a totally charming functionality that ties in perfectly with the speaker’s appearance.
Undoubtedly one of the most stylish iPhone amplifiers ever made, the MegaPhone could very easily be mistaken for a decorative object. Indeed, it does add something lovely to the decor of a room, but it is also functional. Slip an iPhone into the smaller end of the ceramic object and turn on some music, and the hollow chamber amplifies the sound beautifully. The wooden base keeps the ceramic body from vibrating with the music and causing unwanted sounds to mingle with your tunes.
Tree huggers, look away for a moment. the iTree certainly isn’t for everyone – and even if it was, very few people could afford one. The $14,000 iPod dock/speaker is made from an entire hollowed out tree trunk. Since they are made from real trees, no two are ever the same. Buyers can choose the type of wood wanted – or even go on a ride through the woods and pick out the exact tree to be used. The iTree definitely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but people who can afford a $14,000 iPhone speaker are probably few and far between.
Sometimes, when we hear music sounding thin and tinny through cheap or underpowered speakers, we say that it sounds as if it’s coming from a tin can. In this case, however, that might just be a compliment. The Audio Can from designer Dean Brown is a simple, pared-down speaker that sits inside a plain metal can. Far from sounding anemic, the music that comes from the can is surprisingly full-bodied and robust.
Zooka is a Bluetooth speaker that is the perfect size to slide onto the side of your iPad, but it is also compatible with iPhones, iPods, laptops and any other smartphone or tablet. It is incredibly slick, streamlined and simple to use, with only a few buttons to fiddle with. If you can’t wait to get your hands on one, you are not alone: the Zooka Kickstarter project received nearly three times its initial funding requirement, so we could very well see these on store shelves soon.
Who doesn’t love Atari? Unfortunately, while Atari games are great for nostalgia, we still prefer playing games on an XBOX 360 or PS3…and there are untold numbers of old, unloved Atari consoles just sitting around gathering dust. One talented audiophile turned an old Atari 2600 into a very modern gadget by gutting it and replacing its insides with speaker bits. The external subwoofer adds a boost to the speakers hidden inside the case. Although this particular version has already been sold, it would definitely be possible for like-minded individuals to make a similar Atari iPhone dock.
Looking rather like a sculpture paying tribute to the great jazz legends, this recycled trumpet is, in fact, an un-powered iPhone amplifier. Artist Christopher Locke makes the Analog Tele-Phonographer from discarded trumpets and machine parts, and the sound they produce is wonderfully rich. The inherent acoustic and amplification properties of the trumpets must play the biggest part in their beautiful sound quality.
People who hate the look of clunky speakers all over the house will appreciate Irish designer Niall Diggins‘ creation, Ceramic Sound. The speaker features a removable watertight planter on top so that the speakers can be made to look just like ordinary household planters. As an added bonus, playing the right music on these speakers might actually encourage your houseplants to grow!