By Patrick Avenell
MELBOURNE, VIC: The iPod docking category is not dead, but integration with devices from multiple manufacturers is an emerging essential for audio accessory suppliers, according to Pioneer product manager for home entertainment and Pure, Trevor Wilson.
In response to Creative yesterday telling Current.com.au that the iPod docking category was extinct, Wilson said this declaration was premature. Where Pioneer and Creative do agree, however, is on Bluetooth, with both Wilson and Creative’s Daniel Seow introducing products to work with multiple formats over the wireless technology.
“From our point of view, our iPod docks are called iPod docks, but they have Bluetooth connectivity on these devices, which allows content from smartphones, BlackBerrys, computers – depending on where you store your media – to be streamed directly into that unit.
“Although it’s an iPod dock, it’s catering to more devices on the market. Consumers are looking for ‘Made for iPod’ and ‘Works with iPhone’; they’re looking for those labels on products.”
When asked if audio accessory manufacturers – of which Pioneer is a leading player – are focusing too much on Apple products, and ignoring alternative, admittedly less popular MP3 player brands, Wilson agreed, but said that this was set to change.
“At the moment, Apple has the majority of share within the market, but Australia has only recently seen the introduction of smartphones, and that category will continue to grow within Australia.
“[Smartphones are being] released from all different manufacturers, so you need to cater for connectivity from all of them. With Bluetooth on our docks, we’re catering for any manufacturer’s phone.”
Finally, Wilson said that in an ideal world, manufacturers would agree on a standard for docking functionality, allowing consumers to use the same accessory for a range of devices.
“Definitely for consumers it would be a good move, but in reality I don’t see it happening because of competition between manufacturers.”