Aether’s Cone speaker is simple, in both its physical design and its interface. Inside, though, it has a brain that learns what you like.
The Cone is a cone-shaped AirPlay-ready speaker which also streams music straight from the internet. It learns your tastes, and even lets you cue up tracks by asking for them, just like Siri.
You control Cone either by voice (powered by Nuance voice recognition like Siri), by tapping or twisting the speaker grille, or by pushing the volume buttons. Twisting the grille skips forward or back, or – with a bigger counterclockwise twist – you tell it to play something else.
How does it know what you like? If you crank the volume on a track, it assumes you’re rocking out. The speaker will partner with the usual streaming services (although which ones is still a mystery), and you can also just hook it up to your iPhone via AirPlay. Which is exactly what I do with speakers at home, and they can use both Siri and – say – Rdio’s personalized radio features to do the same.
Still, it looks cool, although at $400 it’s also going to have to sound as good as it looks.