Aether Cone: a clever twist on portable wireless speakers

To keep things ultra-simple, this smart soundbox will learn what music you like [UPDATED with pricing]

Another wireless speaker, you say?

That’s right: the Aether Cone is an AirPlay-equipped speaker that connects to your home Wi-Fi network and, thanks to a built-in rechargeable battery, offers up to eight hours of on-the-go music playback.

But that’s not all…?

Nope, that’s not all. The Cone’s big selling point is its brain: this is a speaker that learns what you like to listen to, when you like to listen to it, and where you like to listen to it.

What’s the advantage of that?

The idea is to keep things simple. After an initial setup (for which you’ll require a computer or mobile device) you switch it on and it’ll start streaming things it thinks you’ll like – music (it’ll connect to as-yet unnamed music streaming services), podcasts and internet radio stations.

There’s just one control, a dial. Turn it to the right and it’ll skip whatever’s playing and move on; to the left, it’ll repeat what you just listened to; a complete turn will change the artist and genre completely. In the dial’s centre is a button which can be tapped to pause/play music; alternatively, hold it down and speak the name of an artist and track and it’ll seek that out and play it.

And how does it sound?

That, we don’t know – because we haven’t listened to it yet. It does have a 3in woofer and dual tweeter design and, despite its appearance, offers stereo sound. There’s also a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor inside, which presumably takes care of the “thinking” part of the speaker.

When’s it out?

Again, we don’t know. The Cone is Aether’s first product and they’re yet to confirm a release date beyond “2014”. But we do know that it’ll cost US$400 (around RM1305) and come in two finishes: copper/black and silver/white. You can register your interest at the Aether site if you want a heads-up on availability.

Update 11/03/15: The Aether Cone is now available to buy, priced at US$399 for US residents and £349 for UK residents.