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What travel alarm clock speakers are available for use with the iPod?
All "full-size" iPod models starting with the iPod 3rd Gen, as well as the iPod mini, iPod nano, and iPod touch models, have an alarm clock function that works with the provided headphones or external speakers.
The iPod touch 2nd Gen, 3rd Gen, and 4th Gen models as well as the iPod nano 5th Gen, have small built-in speakers (note that the iPod nano 6th Gen does not), and for these models, external speakers just for the alarm clock function may be unnecessary for most users, although they are rather quiet.
For those with other iPod models -- or those who want a louder speaker in the morning to coax themselves out of bed -- there are a large number of speaker systems for the iPod. For travel purposes, one assumes size is more important than sound quality, and although others are available as well, two tiny speaker systems include the MacAlly IP-A111 Portable Stereo Speakers (previously called the PodWave) and the Gear4 PocketParty V2.
Photo Credit: MacAlly (Left) & Gear4 (Right)
The MacAlly IP-A111/PodWave is a compact 3.3 inch wide 1.3 inch tall cylinder that weighs 1.3 ounces. It is compatible with all full-size iPod models as well as the iPod mini, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle lines, as well as any other "audio players with a 3.5 mm jack". A single AA battery provides an estimated eight hours of battery life with continuous use. iLounge provides a review for more detail.
The Gear4 PocketParty V2 is of similar size and weight, but connects to the bottom of iPod models that provide a "dock connector" with the exception of the iPod 3rd Gen. Gear4 also offers a "universal" variant that plugs into any player with a 3.5 mm jack like the PodWave. The company promises an estimated ten hours of battery life with continuous use. iLounge reviewed the product, and was less than thrilled -- finding the PodWave to be a better choice -- but nevertheless the entire article should be read for the perspective provided by the author.
If size is less critical, or modestly improved sound quality is a higher priority, you might also like to consider the still reasonably compact Pacific Rim Cube Travel Speakers (discontinued).
Photo Credit: Pacific Rim (Left - Closed, Right - Open)
While closed, the Cube Travel Speakers measure 4 inches by 2.4 inches by 2.4 inches, and when "unfolded" measure 7.5 inches by 2.4 inches by 2.25 inches. Like the PodWave, it is compatible with all full-sized iPod models, the iPod mini, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle lines (as well as any other audio players with a 3.5 mm jack, albeit not as smoothly). It runs on four AAA batteries or the included 6V DC charger, but unfortunately, the power adapter cannot charge the iPod, just power the speakers. The company does not provide battery life, but MacWorld found the batteries to last for roughly 12 hours. For more information, iLounge and MacWorld each provide in-depth reviews.
It is hoped that any of these iPod travel speaker systems will help you catch the 6:00 AM train to München, Shanghai, or wherever your travels may take you.
Site sponsor PowerMax sells new and used iPods -- free of sales tax -- as well as a large number of iPod speaker systems. Other World Computing also sells iPod speaker systems as well as replacement batteries and other iPod accessories.