There's a lot to like about the new Denon Cocoon AirPlay speaker dock, not least that it's made by Denon. There are also some things about it that are just irritating.
Setup is mostly simple: there's an Ethernet port as well as 802.11b/g. With AirPlay, you can stream to it using your iOS device, send all your system audio to it if you're on OS X 10.8, or stream to one or more AirPlay devices from iTunes on Mac or PC. You can also dock your iOS device, although currently Denon only makes a model for the older 30-pin dock connector. A Lightning model is on its way, but if you have a recent device, you'll need an adapter.
The dock is lovely. It pops in and out, and has a sleek white bitmap display on it that scrolls track and artist information. It has a built-in internet radio tuner, configurable with a free companion app. There's only an iPhone version, but it lets you set three radio presets that you can select without having to have the iPhone connected, using either the remote control or the dock controls.
These controls are daft, though: they're touch sensitive, but they're on the rear surface of the speaker, so you have to peer over the back of it if you want to use them to control volume or source.
The sound is very good, though we did feel the need to press the Loundness button on the back to make it richer at moderate volumes.
We're still big fans of the Altec Lansing inAir5000 - it doesn't have the radio or dock, and the company has stopped trading in the UK, but you can still buy them and it's half the price of the Cocoon. Still, there's no doubt we want one of these badly.