The docks that you don’t have to dock with

Timothy Barber
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THE annoying thing with docks for MP3 players is how problematic and fragile those multi-pin docking connectors can be. Much easier if you don’t have to connect at all, which is what the latest generation of wireless docks and speakers enable.

Bluetooth speaker systems have been around a little while but in items like Soundfreaq’s Sound Platform they’re really coming of age, meaning you can link up your laptop, tablet, MP3 player or any other music-playing device with a Bluetooth connection.

Meanwhile Apple’s Air-Play technology, enabling special link up with its various products, is adding even more favourable sound conversion and technological efficiency to the mix (provided your media player is an Apple product, obviously).

In a couple of years it’ll be the norm, but for now the act of sitting back in your armchair, hitting “play” on your phone’s music player and letting the music blast from speakers on the other side of the room feels distinctly futuristic.

The Zeppelin speaker, designed by British company Bowers & Wilkins, is already being seen as a design classic, and in its latest, Apple Air-Play-enabled incarnation, it takes the mix of killer sound quality with splendidly sleek design smarts to a new level.

Specialist audiophile manufacturer Denon’s dock incorporates Apple Air-play into a smart, multi-functional system including CD player, dock and radio with separate speakers, all in cool-as-you-like white. £499

Soundfreaq’s boxy, retro-styled Bluetooth speaker represents very good value for money. It’s got an easy interface for linking up to your laptop, phone or other Bluetooth-enabled device, and the sound quality is excellent. £199

Jawbone, a company that normally specializes in Bluetooth headsets, has moved into the speaker market with a product that is very funky and very portable. Just six inches wide and 2.25 inches high, it comes in red, black, blue or grey. £159

Superior, room-filling sound quality meets an unobtrusive, sleekly minimalist design sensibility in ZiiSound’s D5 system, well suited for those living in modern, sleekly minimalist apartments.