Bowers&Wilkins have announced a brand new AirPlay speaker with Lightning dock in the B&W Z2, plus an updated version of their bestselling Zeppelin Air with Lightning dock connector as well.
The new B&W Z2 is taking some design inspiration from the Zeppelin Mini, adding AirPlay technology for wireless streaming and a cleverly integrated Lightning connector dock, supporting the latest iPhone 5 and the iPod Touch 5 and 7th gen iPod Nano. With the dock being sunken into the top of the speaker, there is no space for docking the iPad or iPad Mini. The Z2 has a more rugged build compared to the Zeppelin Mini, while maintaining those graceful curves and the front metal grill protecting the larger 3.5-inch drivers inside with a 2x20W power output. A proprietary FlowportTM is included to ensure an optimal bass performance. Z2 is set for release in black (april) and white (June) versions, costing around £330.
With all new iDevices adapting the new Lightning Connector, there was a need for the popular Zeppelin Air to get an update as well. With this latest version of the Zeppelin Air, B&W have kept to the classic design and great features of the original, but replacing the dock connector with a Lightning version instead, making it possibly the ultimate Lightning speaker dock. They have even made the dock flexible so you don’t have to worry about breaking the dock connector on either the new Zeppelin Air or on your iPhone 5. The new B&W Zeppelin Air with Lightning dock is set for release in May at around £500.
It is interesting that they have gone with a straight out replacement of the old 30-pin connector, as this basically means that these new B&W speakers are not backwards compatible, instead purely targeting the ‘Lightning household’. That said, the Airplay support is the main feature, and that works across most iOS devices currently in customer hands. I guess we can always find another way to charge our non-lightning enabled Apple gear.