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Tuesday, December 19, 2006, 07:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)

Apple pursues interest in micro-acoustics, Hi-Fi successor

Despite mediocre sales of its iPod high-fidelity speaker system during its first year on the market, Apple Computer is proceeding with plans to build a family of micro-acoustic devices for the living room.

A recent iPod engineering job listing posted to the company's website seeks "an acoustic engineer who will be responsible for the design and development of many aspects of consumer loudspeaker systems such as Apple’s Hi Fi."

Apple says the position will entail "loudspeaker enclosure design, passive and active filter design, transducer design, and design validation." More generally, the company said ideal candidates will be responsible for growing a team's "overall capability in the micro-acoustics field."

Earlier this year, it was rumored amongst insiders that Apple was prepping a smaller cousin to its $349 iPod-dockable Hi-Fi speaker system. The device, which was to cater to the sub-$199 iPod speaker market, failed to proceed beyond the test build phase, some said.

Since its introduction in February, the iPod Hi-Fi has garnered an approximate 8 percent share of the iPod speaker market according to NPD Group, good enough for fourth place behind similar but less costly solutions from Bose, Logitech and i-Fusion.

iPod Hi-Fi mini

iPod Hi-Fi "mini" concept rendering


But when it comes to revenue share, Apple's Hi-Fi places second to only Bose, which sells a similar system for $299. That means the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is generating a steady stream of incremental revenue from sales of the rudimentary device.

When it reports results each quarter, Apple lumps sales of the Hi-Fi into category labeled "Other Music Related Products and Services." During the 2006 fiscal year, sales revenues from that category grew some 71 percent.