The last item in my weekly In the news post is often something funny or offbeat from the world of iOS. In January of 2012, as my last In the news item, I mentioned a device that was shown off at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas: the iShower. It struck me as funny that someone would want to have a Bluetooth speaker for their shower. Well don't you know that about a year later, I received an iShower as a gift, so I've been using an iShower for many months now. Do you need a Bluetooth speaker in your shower? No. No, you don't. Having said that, I often like to listen to podcasts or music when I am getting ready for work in the morning, and while I don't take very long showers, I have to admit that it is nice to be able to continue to listen even while I am there. So here are my thoughts on this product, in what I suspect will be my only post on iPhone J.D. that discusses me in the shower.
There are two parts to the iShower, the speaker itself and a plastic holder. The holder is optional, but I liked the idea of mounting the iShower at the perfect height on the wall of my shower. The back of the holder has a 3M adhesive. I removed the red plastic to reveal the adhesive, firmly placed the holder on a clean and dry part of my shower wall, and then fit the iShower into the holder. You can remove the iShower from the holder if you want to take it elsewhere, such as next to a swimming pool, and replace it later.
Unfortunately, the adhesive only stayed attached to my shower wall for about 5 weeks. I walked in my shower one morning to find both the holder and the iShower on the floor. Fortunately, the approximately four foot drop onto a tile floor didn't damage the iShower in any way that I could see. The owner's manual says that you are not supposed to reuse the adhesive, and I didn't want to tempt fate and risk another fall, so since that fall I have just placed the iShower on a ledge in my shower. That works fine, but I wish that the holder had worked for longer because I did prefer it in that orientation.
Note that the speaker is on the back of the iShower. The holder holds the unit about an inch and a half away from the wall. If you are not going to use the holder, for best results you want to leave some space between the back of the iShower and the wall. Sound is muffled if the iShower is flat against a wall.While I wasn't happy about the holder, the iShower itself has worked great. It is simple to pair a device to the iShower, and you can actually pair up to five different devices. After that initial pairing, to use the device just hold down the power button (bottom left of the front of the unit) for a second and that's it. After a second or two, any audio on your iPhone (or iPad or other Bluetooth device) will instead play through the iShower. You can tell that the iShower is on because a small blue light appears above the word "iShower" on the front. Press the power button again to turn the iShower off, or it turns off by itself after a few minutes of inactivity.
In normal use that one blue light is the only light you see, but there is also a LED display area just below that. If you increase or decrease the volume using the buttons on the bottom right, you will see the volume number displayed. In my tests, volume number 7 (on a 1 to 10 scale) was more than loud enough to hear over the sound of water in a shower. I haven't used the iShower outside, but the highest volume is reasonably loud for personal use, although too soft to provide booming music for a party.
The LED indicator also says "Hi" when you turn on the unit and "Bye" when you turn it off. And if you press the clock button to the right of the display, you can see the current time. Having a clock in the shower is sometimes quite useful.
Finally, there are buttons to play/pause the audio, jump to the prior track and jump to the next track. It is nice to have access to those controls in the shower considering how inconvenient it would be to leave the shower, dry your hands, and then tap your iPhone screen just to pause or skip a song.
The sound quality is just fine. Even my ears can tell that the quality of the audio is not comparable to a premium Bluetooth speaker, but if your shower is in use, any sound quality is going to be impaired because it has to compete with the sound of the water. And even when the room is quiet, the audio sound coming from the iShower is perfectly fine, and is certainly far better and louder than the sound coming from the iPhone itself. This is not the speaker that you want to use in your living room, but for the bathroom, it is perfectly appropriate.
The iShower is not completely waterproof, so you don't want to drop it into a bath. But it is water resistant and is designed to get wet. As a support page on the iShower website puts it: "If you are sitting next to the pool and someone decides it would be fun to do a cannonball right next to you, you don't have to worry about the iShower getting splashed. If you are on the patio grilling and it starts to rain, the iShower can continue to play without a problem. If you are on a boat and the iShower falls overboard ... well, the fish may have a few minutes of your favorite music, but you may have to get yourself another iShower."
The iShower uses 3 AA batteries. I typically use the device a few times a week, and each time I use it for only between 3 and 15 minutes, and it lasted about three months using the included batteries. My replacement batteries have been in for about two months and it is still going strong. The manufacturer says that a fresh pair of batteries will last about 15 hours.
There is a frame around the sides that you lift up to access the battery compartment. You can also use that frame as a kickstand.
I thought that the iShower was just a funny idea when I wrote about it in January of 2012, and when I started using it earlier this year, my wife did roll her eyes a few times. This is clearly an extravagance. But I have to admit, it is fun and useful. I use it a few times a week, and I always enjoy using it. And I even caught my wife using it with her iPhone.
I wish that the adhesive on the plastic holder had worked better, but for the most part I'm happy with the design of the iShower, and it works well as a speaker that can get wet. If you think it is worth $100 (or about $87 on Amazon) to listen to music or podcasts or anything else from your iPhone regardless of whether you are wet or dry, or if you are looking for a gift for the iPhone owner who has almost everything, the iShower lives up to its name.
Click here to get the iShower on Amazon ($86.66).