It’s taken long enough, but Apple has finally reacted to the plethora of ‘for iPod’ speaker systems lining not only high-street shops, but also its own online store. So, people, all hail the Apple Hi-Fi.

Surprisingly for a product from the makers of the beautiful iMac, cute Mac mini, and iconic iPod, the Hi-Fi looks either plain or plain ugly, depending on your mood.

Apple supplies a remote, and also includes an analogue/digital optical input – but curiously, there’s no video out.

‘Portable’? Ha!

You'll be happy to know that your iPod will charge as it sits in the Hi-Fi's universal dock (yep, the Hi-Fi will mate with any flavour of Pod), but less happy to discover that taking your Hi-Fi on the road demands six D-cell batteries.

Milk crate design aside, Apple’s speaker system goes very, very loud. Which would be dandy, if you could assume that loud always guaranteed good. But even when chewing on Apple Lossless (best-quality) files, the Hi-Fi sounds compressed, lacking especially in any top-end sparkle.

Bad timing

When it comes to timing, the Hi-Fi falls well short of the rather splendid Monitor Audio i-deck, while its midrange sounds cupped. And it fails to disperse sound widely around the room.

Get the feeling we could be more in love? Still, we doubt we'll stop the Hi-Fi in its tracks, judging by the masses clutching milk crate boxes as they leave London's Apple Store...

Stuff says... 

Apple iPod Hi-Fi review

Judged not only by its maker’s high standards, but also by its leading rivals’ efforts, this system is neither Apple nor hi-fi.