The iPod Hi-Fi - It’s a Swing, and A Miss!

by James R. Stoup Dec 03, 2007

So apparently Apple discontinued the iPod Hi-Fi this past September.


Yeah, I didn’t really care either. I actually meant to write about this sooner, but seeing as how it wasn’t really critical news, I decided to ignore it for a while. But now, at last, we can say goodbye to that ill-conceived product.

I feel somewhat like a minister who has been asked to do the burial service for a moderately dull man he had no interest in ever knowing. What do you say?

He will be missed…by somebody.
It is truly sad when the Lord takes a loved one…but hey, that’s life.
The widow can’t be here today because she is grieving…in Hawaii.

So what can I say about the iPod Hi-Fi? It produced fairly good sound, except for when the frequency got too high. It was stylish and chic, but completely unsuited for actual use. (sorry, a portable speaker system that provides no support for your iPod gets a failing grade in my book.) It had some really great features, but lacked a radio. The system was very powerful, but the remote control was hard to use. Oh, and to top it all off, it was twice as much as the competition.

All in all it was a very average product from a company that generally puts a lot more effort into its offerings. When it first came out, I was actually quite surprised. In addition to being completely unexpected, it was also completely unwanted. After all, it wasn’t like people were begging Apple to make a speaker system. I thought for sure that corner of the market was being handled nicely by Bose, JBL, and Harman Kardon. Apparently Apple thought differently.

No stranger to competition though, I’m sure that didn’t bother them much. But I really do wonder what they were thinking when they let this thing get out the door. It is a speaker system that, apart from being louder than the competition, is mediocre in every other regard. Where was the innovation? And at that price especially, one expects something more than what the Hi-Fi delivered. I had hoped that Apple would get its collective act together and actually revamp the product until it became something they could rightly be proud of. But instead, after barely a year and a half on the market, they decided to kill it.

How cool would it have been if they had redesigned it to wirelessly stream music from your Mac or your iPhone? Or maybe made a smaller, cheaper version that was more portable and better complimented its current iPods? You can’t tell me there wasn’t room for some innovation here. But instead they quietly took it out behind the barn and put it out of its misery.

And do you know what is next on the list? The Mighty Mouse. Don’t act surprised, you knew it was only a matter of time. Especially now that Apple is moving towards a darker “black and brushed metal” look, that mouse just looks tacky. Those new keyboards are way too sexy to have that stupid mouse attached to them. Mark my words, it won’t be too long before a new mouse enters the picture. And when that happens the Mighty Mouse will join the iPod Hi-Fi on Apple’s “wish we could’ve forgetten that one” list.


  • The iPod Hi-Fi did a few things better than most competing “mini” sound systems:  It played louder, deeper, and with less distortion and overall coloration.  Apparently, this wasn’t enough to offset its other shortcomings.

    Apple could have refined the design with a 2.0 product, but I think they didn’t want to compete directly with the 3rd-party manufacturers who have since released systems with improved sound.

    Brett Sher had this to say on Dec 03, 2007 Posts: 7
  • So much for re-inventing home stereo.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Dec 03, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • Those new keyboards may look great but they’re bloody awful to use… it’s like typing beneath the desk! I like the white previous gen keyboards (the curve of the keys works well for me) but beyond that, I’ll take a terminal style mechanical IBM keyboard any day!

    evilcat had this to say on Dec 04, 2007 Posts: 66
  • I Love the IPod Hi-Fi.  So much so I got two of them.  I’ve never listened to music more than I do now.  (And I have a gigantic stereo system).  They are so easy to use.  Got the 160 gig iPod Classic - riped every CD I own to it and now just plug it in and it plays.  Sound is excellent - especially cranked up.  Price was steep, but couldn’t be happier.  Much maligned product that wasn’t fully appreciated.

    edstephan had this to say on Dec 04, 2007 Posts: 1
  • I bought one for half price at Target for my oldest son. He uses it for the audio output of the eMac, and to listen to his 5g iPod.

    Sounds good. For $185.00, sounds GREAT!!!

    TowerTone had this to say on Dec 04, 2007 Posts: 6
  • Stylish?  I felt it was clunky and too boxy.  I was excited to hear that Apple was going to release a sound system for the iPod.  Unfortunately, this does not look or act like an Apple product to me.  I am not ashamed to admit that things like “pretty” (the former iMac, for example) and “sexy” (the new iMac) factor into my decision to purchase a product, especially from a company that sets such high standards, like Apple.
    I would very much like to see a pretty or sexy iPod HiFi that is smaller, with a radio, and potentially streaming.

    bluegirl had this to say on Dec 07, 2007 Posts: 19
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