“Three times in 87 years we let a woman design a product. Isn’t that great?!” That’s B&O’s CEO and president Tue Mantoni speaking at this morning’s London launch – clearly proud of his company’s radical, forward-thinking attitude to gender equality. The female journalist he was motioning towards? Not so impressed.
But maybe, just maybe, these “women” people he’s talking about know their stuff: the new B&O A3 iPad speaker is a stunningly different device. Shame you probably can’t afford one…
It may look like some sort of weaponised wedge, but this is, in fact, a designer iPad dock. Not only that, but it’s an iPad dock with extremely clever, powerful and loud audio tech built in. Well what else would you expect from Bang & Olufsen?
“We want to make the iPad heard,” said Mantoni, who tentatively pulled the B&O A3 from his bag to show humans outside the company for the first time. The first thing you’ll notice is the madness of the angles. That’s to allow it to stand in several different ways: you can stand it upright either horizontally or vertically, or lie it near flat to type on, in a similar angle to the propping a Smart Cover will give you.
And, cleverly, the speakers adapt to their position. Adaptive Stereo Orientation from four different drivers ensures that left is always left and right is always right. True to form, the sound quality is impressive. “Have you played Angry Birds?” asked Mantoni, who’s kids love Rovio’s game. “With Angry Birds you get stupid music. With this you get stupid music, very loud.”
Make no mistake: this is a device aimed at people with cash to chuck around. You can pop the iPad in and out of the A3 easily enough, but that’s not what B&O anticipates most people doing. This is a dock for people with spare iPads. To that end, it doesn’t even work with the new iPad yet – B&O is having to create a bespoke rubber grip to make the slightly-different tablet fit.
Still, if you’ve got an old iPad lying about that you fancy using as a portable TV or touchscreen speaker system, you’re just £450 away from owning the B&O A3. It’s out on May 21st in black, with a white model dropping shortly after. Any takers?