Bluetooth and smart speakers are a dime a dozen these days, and many of them aren’t bad — so what it often comes down to is style. Native Union has my number with its latest device, which accentuates the classic bookcase speaker look with a tech-heavy back end and aluminum (but brassy aluminum) volume knob.
The PR/01 a collaboration with French audio outfit La Boite Concept (roughly, “concept box”), which presumably did the sound-specific portions of the speaker — that is to say, the speaker — while Native Union brought its understated design chops to the bargain.
My iPhone SE proudly wore a Native Union case for a year or so in handsome cherry and brass, though the plastic parts eventually broke down. This looks to be rather a more solid construction, but the design notes are the same: a focus on natural materials with slashes of metal.
Inside is the amplifier and guts, of course, and in back a drawer hides the many inputs: two 3.5mm jacks, two USB, one USB-C. I’m not sure how many of those you’ll end up using simultaneously, but it’s always nice to have options. Plus Bluetooth, of course. And there’s a spot to attach a wireless charger so you can just set your phone on top of the thing and get a boost.
Right now the speaker isn’t quite listed on Native Union’s site — it’s that fresh. Acquire apparently scooped the maker of the thing. I’ve asked for more details, and I’m sure it’ll be online soon. I know it’s coming because there’s a “speakers” nav on their site:
It’s a hell of a good looking thing, but you know it comes at a price — $799. Yes, and you’ll have to buy it at MOMA stores in New York. Really, now. Maybe I’ll wait for a sale.
Update: Native Union sent over some pictures and let me know that the PR/01 will be available in stores starting May 10, and will be listed on the website on May 15.