Bang & Olufsen never fails to surprise us. From its audio performance-enhancing iPad case, the BeoPlay A3, to sheet metal TVs you can hang from the ceiling, the company combines unique design with the latest technologies in order to offer something a little different.
And it has done it again, with the BeoPlay A9, a speaker system that's crammed into one mightily spherical unit.
The A9 is wireless (apart from power, naturally) so can be hooked up to an iPhone, iPad or Android device with no strings attached. It features two three-quarter-inch tweeters and two 3-inch midrange drive units, with each driven by separate 80-watt class D amplifiers.
There's an 8-inch bass unit driven by 160-watts from its own class D amp. And there are three pre-set audio modes that are specific to where the BeoPlay A9 is positioned. You see, it can sit on its own stand on the floor, be hung from a wall or placed in a corner. Either way, it provides enough volume and clarity to fill a reasonably sized room easily. We know, because it provided all of the music needs for the launch party in a London bar which Pocket-lint attended.
When it was revealed to the gathered press, the first thing that blew us away, however, wasn't its audio capabilities, but its size. The A9 is no mere iPod dock, it's a massive, round piece of objet d'art.
It looks like the moon with legs. Or, to take a Nineties catchphrase from Messrs Lee and Herring, the "moon on a stick". It's an apt simile in that a moon on a stick was used to describe something fantastical that not many of us will ever attain. The Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A9 is £1,700, give or take a quid.
Sadly, we didn't get to check out the volume controls at the launch event - we suspect the revellers may have called for our heads - but are looking forward to giving it a whirl, because you only have to wave your hand across a sensor to raise or lower the volume. And, thankfully, we should get a chance when we visit Bang & Olfsen's base in Denmark later this week.
Until then, we'll just have to imagine what Snooker Loopy sounds like from such a magnificent, if not unusual, beast.
The Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A9 will be available from November through the manufacturer's own stores, both online and in the outside world. It will also be stocked by Apple Online and select design stores globally.