Belkin's Thunderstorm transforms the iPad into a portable home theater
If you wanted to watch a movie ten years ago, your choices were simple: drive to the movie theatre, or watch it at home on TV. How things have changed. Mobile devices have added second and third screens for us to enjoy the latest blockbusters. Belkin wants to make one of those smaller screens more like the big screen – by injecting the iPad with enhanced home theater audio.
Portable home theater
Meet the Belkin Thunderstorm Handheld Home Theater. The iPad snaps directly into the portable dock, routing all of the tablet's audio through its front-facing speakers.
Though the iPad's built-in speakers are sufficient for most uses, the resulting audio isn't exactly stellar. Belkin says that the Thunderstorm dock delivers a "rich, powerful audio experience," with ported speakers. A companion app lets you tweak your home theater experience, with multiple presets for music, movies, and games.
Thunderstorm doubles as a case. Its magnetically-attached cover props up your iPad in multiple stand configurations. When the final credits roll, you can fold over its soft cover to protect the screen.
30-pin now, Lightning later
The Thunderstorm dock is MFi certified, having met Apple's standards. It launches in January with 30-pin support (for iPad 2 and 3rd-gen. iPad), but a Lightning-compatible version (for 4th-gen. iPad) will arrive several months later.