You may remember the iPillow from the December issue of Australian Macworld, where it was featured in our Christmas gift guide. I finally got my hands on one to see what it was like. I really wanted to love it. And thankfully, it delivered.
Brought to us by local company Slake Audio Products, the iPillow is such a good idea that I’m sure everyone who sees it will have a “Why didn’t I think of that?” moment. It’s a simple concept: a pillow with speakers inside. All you need to do is hook up your iPod (anything with headphone out will work) and drift off to sleep to your favourite album. Gone are the days of sleeping in fear of being strangled by headphone cables.
My biggest gripe with the iPillow was that it was too firm – but Slake has told me that my review unit had slightly more filling inside than the actual product will ship with (800g versus 700g). Frankly, I prefer feather pillows. But I can see that attaching speakers inside something so soft wouldn’t work quite as well, and they’d always get bunched up one end. With this unit, you can barely tell where the speakers are inside the pillow.
Sound quality on the iPillow is pretty good. It gives a remarkably similar effect to listening with earphones (where the sound feels as if it’s inside your head), and the speakers are clear. Obviously you’d get better audio from high-end docks and alarm clocks, but at the low volumes that the iPillow is designed for, it can’t be faulted.
It’s perfect for both music and voice – I found it great for listening to podcasts, even though some people seem to think that’s a bit odd. Full volume is actually pretty loud, with about half-way being perfect for listening without annoying my partner. That’s perhaps the beauty of the product: it manages to localise the sound so that if you share a bed, listening to music as you go to sleep shouldn’t strain the relationship.
Connection to the pillow is simple: it has a 3.5mm jack and 1.2m extension cable to easily reach an iPod or iPhone on your bedside table. Volume control is through the player, as the iPillow contains passive speakers much like a pair of headphones.
The iPillow can be bought online directly from the manufacturer or from a range of stores. Details are on the website (http://www.ipillow.com.au/).
Australian Macworld’s buying advice
If you like firm pillows, and want to easily listen to music or podcasts in bed, then the iPillow is almost certainly for you. Sure, it’s a bit gimmicky, but it actually works really well and the sound quality is great at low volumes.
UPDATE: Slake Audio Products supplied AMW with the actual shipping product, and it is much softer. I think this model might have a broader appeal – it’s still firm, but it’s soft enough to squash into your preferred shape. I’m even giving it a permanent place on my bed.