Almost three years ago to the date, I wrote a Switched On column looking at the iHome iH5, which pioneered the iPod clock dock market. It spawned a great business for SDI Technologies, which owns the iHome brand as well as the rights to use the Timex brand for clock radios.
Now SDI is releasing the iH41), its first dock specifically created for the iPod touch. Like the handheld computer itself, it can be used in a vertical or horizontal orientation. The clock display rotates, and, while I’m not necessarily a fan of many devices that can be used in multiple orientations, I’ve always had an odd soft spot for rotating displays, like the front-panel electronic logo on the new Dell Studio Hybrid.
iPod speaker docks have been a successful endeavor for other companies, too, such as Bose and Logitech, but I frankly never liked the way many of them have the iPod protruding from the top like it’s on some kind of pedestal. And the form factors of other dockable iPods, such as the classic and nano, had their small screens enveloped by massive speakers flanking them. The scroll wheel — which works so well on the go — isn’t an ideal way to control a docked iPod.
The iPod touch and iPhone don’t solve these problems completely, but their more generic appearance help them look less out of place docked, and the touch UI is better for a home environment. In addition, of course, the ability for them to stream music over Wi-Fi via Pandora (and soon other services), bring new value to speaker docks.