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Bose unveils new SoundLink AirPlay and Bluetooth speakers

Bose this week added a pair of new wireless speakers to its SoundLink line. The Bose SoundLink Bluetooth II mobile speaker is the follow-up Bose SoundLink speaker. The new device is the company's first AirPlay speaker, and is of particular interest after Apple announced the iPhone 5 on Wednesday.

The SoundLink Air uses a Wi-Fi network to play music from an iOS device, or a computer with iTunes, through Apple's AirPlay system. Because AirPlay speakers are generally used more for stationary home entertainment than portability like Bluetooth speakers, the SoundLink Air is much larger than the original SoundLink speaker, measuring 6.8 x 12 x 4in (HWD) compared to the SoundLink's 5.1 x 9.6 x 1.9in. A larger speaker size usually means a larger and clearer sound across all ranges from bass to high end.

Curiously, the SoundLink Air will feature a setup process using a USB connection and Bose's website; most AirPlay speakers require the user to log into the speaker itself, like a router, in order to set it up to work with a nearby Wi-Fi network - a method that can streamline the process.

Besides direct playback control using an iOS device or iTunes through AirPlay, the SoundLink Air can use its included infrared remote control to adjust volume and change tracks. Like most AirPlay speakers, the SoundLink Air is exclusively AirPlay-based for wireless connections; it doesn't use Bluetooth like the SoundLink or SoundLink Bluetooth II.

The SoundLink Bluetooth II can also be used by iOS devices through a Bluetooth connection, and can connect to Android devices, Windows Mobile devices, and other Bluetooth-enabled music players. Like most Bluetooth speakers, the SoundLink Bluetooth II is designed more for portability, and will likely be closer to the first SoundLink's size than the SoundLink Air's.

Like the original SoundLink, it features a stand and built-in combination cover, and has a rechargeable battery so users can carry it around. The included cover is grey nylon, though different covers are available for an additional £24.95 and £44.95 in differently coloured nylon or leather respectively. The SoundLink Air will require a power cable, but an accessory battery will be available for £89.95.

The SoundLink Air is available for £299.95, and the SoundLink Bluetooth II is available for £249.95. The speakers and their respective accessories are available now.