Bang and Olufsen, better known for high-end audio installations, have announced the launch of the B&O Beolit 12, a premium iPhone speaker.

The new speaker is the first product to be launched under a new sub-brand, known as B&O Play. B&O Play will focus on high-quality portable audio-video products, which the company says are designed "for the digital generation, at a more accessible price point". 

With an RRP of €677 or $799 (£580), it's a tad more expensive than your average Gear4 iPhone dock, but we guess that accessibility is a subjective concept. Fortunately the Beolit 12 oozes luxury at every possible point and has been designed to ensure you get a cracking portable speaker.

It features a full-grain Italian leather carry strap and a solid anodised aluminium speaker grill which wraps around the device seamlessly, giving it a minimalist but sophisticated design. Different colours will be available, although it is initially launching in grey.

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The top is finished in rubber and designed to be non-slip, so you can safely place your iPhone on the top when charging or playing music. Oh yes, it's AirPlay compatible too, and although you can connect other devices, this is very much Made for iPhone (or iPod, or iPad).

Internally you'll get a 120 Watts class D power amplifier driving two 2-inch full range tweeters and a 4-inch woofer, said to comfortably fill a medium-sized room. 

The Beolit 12 is designed to be portable so comes with an internal battery that is said to give you 8-hours of playback (with wireless switched off) and will charge your iPhone (or other device) thanks to a USB port hidden down the side. 

In terms of connections you'll get the USB, a 3.5mm line in and an Ethernet port as well as Wi-Fi a/b/g/n. It measures 230 x 150 x 188mm and weighs in at 2.8kg.

“Once people listen to their portable music through the Beolit 12, they will wonder why they ever did it any other way”, said Tue Mantoni, Global CEO of Bang & Olufsen.

The B&O Beolit 12 will be available from January 2012 at B&O stores (including online) and will be available through the Apple Store.