Belkin teamed up with an audio partner Audifi to come up with a pretty neat and portable speaker system for the Apple iPad that also doubles up as its case cover, stand and screen cover. Welcome the Belkin Thunderstorm that's billed as a handheld 'home theater' with a built-in amplifier and speakers for your portable screen - great for long road trips, picnics, small group parties and definitely an excellent accompaniment for you and your partner watching a movie together on the small screen.
We got a brief hands-on with the device at CES 2013, but due to the venue's noise levels, it was unfortunately not possible to audition the Thunderstorm in proper. What we can say is that it adds a bit of heft to the iPad, but it shouldn't weigh you down much. Accompanying the product is the downloadable Thuderstorm App that effortlessly provides extra controls and customized presets for different audio playback needs to ensure audio playback meets your expectations and sound as best as it can be.
The Belkin Thunderstorm doesn't come cheap at US$200 and is presently only available with the 30-pin docking interface (compatible with the second and third generation iPads). Initial rollout will be in the U.S. but it will soon progress to elsewhere around the world. The lightning connector edition that's compatible with the fourth generation iPad will only be out in spring time this year (roughly mid-year).
For those interested, take note that the Thunderstorm has the necessary pass-through provisions for the rear camera, headphones jack, microphone input, charging port, volume controls, lock switch, mute/rotation lock toggles.