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JBL unveils first iOS audio docks with built-in Apple Lightning connector

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JBL OnBeat Venue LT
JBL OnBeat Venue LT

The first speaker docks built for Apple's Lightning connector are here. But rather than coming from one of the company's high-end, boutique audio partners, the first products to market are instead aimed at those with a smaller budget. JBL is today announcing a pair of docking stations: the $199 OnBeat Venue LT and $99 OnBeat Micro. As their names imply, the Venue LT is your traditional, full-sized iPhone/iPod speaker whereas the Micro offers a bit more freedom in terms of mobility. The latter will provide up to five hours of playback when used with batteries and features a built-in USB connector for non-Lightning music sources.


But if you're after something for a new iPad or iPad mini, you'll need to stick with the Venue LT. Aside from the built-in Lightning connector, up to eight devices can be paired with the desktop speaker via Bluetooth.

Neither product is likely to win awards for sound quality, so if top-notch performance is a must, you might do better to wait for options from Bowers & Wilkins, Bang & Olufsen, and others. Those are sure to carry a higher price tag, however. In the end, though, we're looking forward to a day when AirPlay-enabled options replace traditional speaker docks — but if you're not interested in going wireless, both of JBL's speakers are available to order today.