Amazon, Harman and WD Hope 'Timing Is Everything'

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JBL OnBeat Venue LT is the first powered speaker dock for the iPad Mini and newest iPad.

Timing is everything in electronics as well as comedy. Harman and Amazon hope to prove the point today with new product releases. But the latest/greatest from Western Digital delivers the punch line before the set up.

Lightning Strikes: Arriving “just in time for Black Friday” hails Harman, are the  first docks with the new Apple Lightning connector designed for the iPhone 5, iPad Mini, new iPad and refreshed iPods. Apple’s change of connector has caused much stress among both old line Apple users and new adoptors.

Harman’s compact JBL OnBeat Micro ($99) for the iPhone 5, iPod touch 5th generation and iPod nano 7th  gen runs on both battery and AC power, charges a connected player and also takes signals from other devices via a mini (3.5 mm) stereo plug. The larger JBL OnBeat Venue LT ($199)  also handles the newest gen iPad  and iPad Mini with Lightning connectors. And it links wirelessly with up to eight devices via Bluetooth (not Apple’s exclusive Airplay).  Sound quality should be good with a ported, four driver speaker system and “user friendly” EQ settings. A component video output lets you enjoy iProduct-stored films and TV shows on a bigger screen. 

A Worthy Competitor: Tablet computers are at the top of every shoppers survey this season.   Amazon’s first  big screen  Kindle Fire HD 8.9” , shipping today, could nab a goodly hunk of the action. Competitively priced at $299, the tab boasts a high def display (1920x1200 with 254 pixels per inch) to rival the  9.7 inch iPad’s Retina screen, while the Fire HD stands apart  with exclusive Dolby audio, super robust Wi-Fi and nifty content features. Among them - X-Ray for Movies and Textbooks (extra background info, on demand) and Kindle Free Time – a  personalized tablet experience for kids that lets parents set daily screen limits and appropriate content access for each child.  

Next Gen Wi-Fi, Today: The promise of blazing fast Wi-Fi connectivity – most important for high def movie streaming, video conferencing  and gaming  – is the big come-on in Western Digital’s new My Net AC 1300 HD Dual-Band Router ($189.99) and My Net AC Bridge ($149.99.) These  WD devices use next generation 802.11ac wireless technology plus exclusive FasTrack tech to automatically prioritize the needs of high bandwidth-demanding services like Netflix, YouTube, online games and Skype. With that combo punch,  claims WD, the devices deliver content at speeds up to 3 times faster and more reliable than wireless-N Wi-Fi, until now  the “state of the art” transmission scheme.

 So what’s wrong with this big deal? At the moment, only Asus is actually supporting the  802.11ac standard with compatible laptop products. The good news – many more product makers are expected to jump on board  next year. And these future-proof WD innovations are backwards compatible, ready and able to slow down to work with whatever Wi-Fi connectable gizmos you’re currently running.