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Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 8 speakers handle iPods, iPhones, and iPads

HIgh-end AV gear maker Bang & Olufsen has just launched its high-style entry into the North American holiday gift market in the form of the BeoSound 8, the company’s first docking speaker system that can handle not just Apple’s iPhone and iPod lines, but also the iPad tablet computer via an adjustable holder. And the BeoSound 8 offers a flat, minimalist design that can be set up on a table or other surface like a normal speaker set, or mounted elegantly on a wall. And Bang & Olufsen is offering six different speaker grille options so the unit can blend in with (or stand out from) any decor.

“We are extremely happy and excited to introduce BeoSound 8 to our North American customers this holiday season,” said Bang & Olufsen America president Zean Nielsen, in a statement. “We believe BeoSound 8 will resonate with many new and existing customers due to its many color options, versatile wall and table mounting solutions, and unrivaled sound quality.”

Shaped rather like flat barbell with round speakers at either end, the BeoSound 8 can handle docking iPods, iPhones, and larger iPads docked atop its middle segment. The unit is designed to function as a room’s main music system, but can also be mounted on a wall in a kitchen or other room—imagine having an iPad at eye level showing a recipe while you’re cooking. The BeoSound 8 features flat, sealed speaker cabinets and custom digital amps that B&( says can handle frequencies from 38Hz all the way up to 24KHz. Users can dock Apple i-devices atop the unit, or connect up other audio sources via aux line-in or USB. The system can be controlled via a docked Apple devices, via a supplied remote control, or one of B&O’s standalone remote controls. If users also have an Apple AirPort Express Wi-Fi base station, they can connect that up using a mini-to-RCA cable and stream music from iTunes on Macs or PCs.

Bang & Olufsen also plans to launch a free iPhone/iPad BeoPlayer application to tap into Internet radio sources; an “upgraded” version for $19.99 will offer access to more than 10,000 online radio stations, a music library browser, and an alarm clock with an “elegant chime.”

None of this comes cheap, however: the BeoSound 8 should be available in B&O showrooms this month for $999—the six speaker cover colors are lavender blue, purple, green, yellow, black, and white. The BeoPlayer application should be available in December.

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