There’s no shortage of accessories for the iPad out there, but the new Amp from OIO, which recently launched on Kickstarter, might just be one of the coolest we’ve seen yet. Designed as a hybrid display/case/stereo speaker system for your prized tablet, the Amp aims to take your iPad experience to the next level by addressing the device’s biggest weakness: its sound.
Created for the iPad Air and the freshly minted iPad Air 2, OIO takes a cue from the Jony Ive design playbook, carving the Amp into a beautiful aluminum chassis that puts your iPad on display for all to enjoy, or simply offers a convenient entertainment hub for one or two, with the promise of a richer cinematic experience thanks to its “room filling sound.”
Apple has proven it is adept at making its devices thinner and increasingly more beautiful to gaze upon, but has yet to address the iPad’s paltry sound. That isn’t an oversight by Apple, of course, but a physical limitation of the iPad’s design. Due to the fundamental nature of how speakers reproduce audio, a thin profile and powerful sound performance don’t often go hand in hand.
The Amp aims to resolve the issue with its ultra-thin resin fiber honeycomb acoustic panels, which span the frame of both sides of the device, and expand like wings to create a large stereo field. OIO claims that using the honeycomb design as opposed to traditional speaker cones helps the low profile speakers tackle the limitations of their size to create ample frequency response. That said, while the speakers will no doubt offer a sonic improvement over your iPad alone, we don’t expect a great deal of bass.
The system connects to your iPad wirelessly via Bluetooth, and OIO says its firmware and digital signal processing for the Amp auto adjusts output to ensure optimum performance. We’re not exactly sure what OIO means by “optimum performance,” but we’re hoping the system can not only offer vibrant sound, but will also ensure audio is properly synced to video without the kind of delay that can occasionally arise with a Bluetooth connection.
The hinges on the Amp’s speakers are designed to stay in place thanks to Torsion technology, and are able to fold out wide to 85 degrees, or duck behind the iPad when not in use. The stand at the bottom can display your screen at multiple angles as well. A 2,000 mAh lithium ion battery on board the Amp is claimed to last for around 7 hours of playback time per charge.
At the time of publication, there were still several Early Bird specials for the Amp left, priced at $129. From there the price rises to $200, with a slated first quarter 2015 delivery. Throwing in $229 will get your Amp delivered by December of this year, and $329 will get you two Amps with an estimated delivery in March 2015. The Amp will cost around $250 once it makes its way to traditional retail outlets.
As of publishing this article, the Amp has garnered just under $6,000 of its $50,000 goal, with 47 days left to go. If you’d like to get in on the Amp early, you can do so by pledging on its Kickstarter page now.