High-end Danish speaker company Libratone makes some quirky clothed speakers, and the latest, the Zipp, is no different. But like most things, appearances don’t always tell the whole story.
The Zipp, it turns out, is different than anything else available for a number of reasons. Sure, it has an interchangeable collection of Italian wool sweaters and a unique 360-degree array of ribbon-based tweeters, but how you connect to the speaker is the most interesting part about it. Not only is the Zipp AirPlay-compatible, but you can connect your iOS device or computer (Mac, PC) to it via a direct Wi-Fi connection — not over your existing Wi-Fi network. That direct connection is unique to the Zipp and allows for more data to be transferred, Soren Pedersen, chairman and CEO of Libratone told me.
Setting up your device to the Zipp is simple and quick and no different from connecting to any other Wi-Fi network. You can also jack in any device via the 3.5mm port located in the back. There wasn’t any noticeable lag when streaming music through the iPhone’s music app but there was noticeable lag when changing tracks through MOG’s app. Sound quality appeared to be quite good, but for the sake of others in the office, we didn’t crank the volume up very high. (We’ll have a review sometime next month.)
Another notable feature of the Zipp is the ability to adjust and optimize sound quality based on the speaker’s location (distance off the ground, from a wall, etc.) through the company’s existing iOS app. It’s a feature that’s been available for the other speakers in the lineup but new to me.
Pedersen also told me that it took the company quite some time to find the right material that wouldn’t hinder audio quality, and that they ultimately settled on the wool from a purveyor in Florence.
The Zipp will be available starting next month at all Apple Stores in an array of colors starting at $399. Exclusive to Apple will be red- (non-Product Red related) and grey-only versions for $399. There will also be two three-pack versions to choose from, as well. The “Classic Color Collection” includes a black, blue and red wool zip-up, while the “Funky Color Collection” includes black, pink and yellow. Both kits will sell for $449. All colors will be available a la carte for $50 a pop.