JBL will be at CES this year, which is no surprise, and it’ll be showing off at least a trio of new speakers, which also isn’t that surprising. The speakers themselves have some interesting features and quirks, however, and look like solid options for mobile device owners of all stripes. Also coming to the show are two new Harman Kardon receivers, each of which boast compatibility with Apple’s AirPlay audio streaming.
First, there’s a new addition to JBL’s line of Lightning-enabled speaker docks called the OnBeat Mini, which will work with the iPhone 5, iPad mini, new iPods and iPad 4th generation devices, providing charging for those Apple gadgets when plugged into the wall via AC connector. The OnBeat Mini follows the OnBeat Venue LT and Micro, both of which were introduced late last year and also sport Lightning connections. This one is designed to strike a balance between portability and support for larger devices, and boasts 5 hours of battery life, the ability to charge Lightning devices when plugged into the wall and a USB audio port for connecting non-Apple devices.
Another new portable speaker from JBL on display at CES this year will be the JBL Charge, which is a cylindrical design that follows the examples of the Jawbone Jambox and Philips Shoqbox, with a 12-hour battery life, Bluetooth connectivity and a ruggedized exterior design. As its name implies, it also acts as a backup battery for portable devices, allowing them to sip juice via USB from its 6000mAh onboard battery. The JBL Charge will also run for $149, and begins shipping sometime in the first quarter of 2013. The battery backup is a nice feature, and the price undercuts many of its competitors, but we’ll have to wait to go ears-on to see how it stacks up.
The final new speaker is the JBL Rumble, another Lighting speaker dock, but one that also offers Bluetooth capabilities, 50 watts of output power and a 4.5 inch downfiring subwoofer for ample bass. It’s clearly designed to rock the party, and JBL says it’s compatible with DJ apps on iOS devices when connected with Bluetooth (as are pretty much all Bluetooth speakers, of course, but this one is aimed at the demographic which might be most interested in actually using those apps). It will be available sometime in the spring with a price tag of $399.
Finally, JBL also has two new Harman Kardon home theatre receivers at the show, the AVR 2700 and AVR 3700. These are 7.1 and 7.2 surround sound receivers, priced at $799 and $999 respectively, and both feature AirPlay streaming built-in. The more expensive AVR 3700 also offers 4K pass-through, which most likely won’t be able to take advantage of for a little while yet, and both also provide iOS direct play through USB connections, eschewing the need for a standalone dock, as well as vTuner Internet and terrestrial radio. They’ll be available to consumers sometime during the first quarter of 2013.
All of these will be on display at JBL’s HARMAN booth during CES next week, so we’ll try to get up close and personal with the devices above to see how they pan out in the real world.