San Francisco-based start-up Aether Things, which aims to build beautiful products that seamlessly integrate hardware, software and services, has launched its first product – Cone, a ‘thinking music player’.

The world is not short of wireless speakers that stream music from various devices but Aether Things hopes to gain a foothold in this industry by offering something more intelligent that makes it simple to listen to what you love.

“There are so many new devices that do amazing things, yet the more you own, the harder you have to work to connect, manage and troubleshoot them,” explains Duncan Lamb, co-founder and chief product officer at Aether.

“At Aether, we decided to make products and experiences that work harder so you don’t have to. Our ultimate goal is simple – to make everyday life nicer through beautifully thought-out products.”

True to this goal, Cone is a very simple product. As its name suggests, it is cone shaped with a big speaker at one end. However, unlike most audio products, there is no user interface, buttons or touch screen to operate the device. Instead it streams music services, internet radio stations and podcasts all with one simple interaction – a turn of the dial.

So, to start playing, the user presses the button in the centre of the speaker grill. If that song isn’t to your choice, turn the front edge of the speaker a little and it will play another song in the same genre or spin it, much like you would a roulette wheel, and it’ll play something completely different. The intelligent bit is that Cone remembers the songs you listen to as well as those you skip to ensure that in future it only plays what you like to listen to.

“The world of music offers so much choice and capability that it can be overwhelming and difficult to simply enjoy listening,” says Ben Fullerton, head of design at Aether. “Cone makes it easy to hear something great by applying Aether’s machine learning software across music and content services in order to learn what you like and play what you love.”

Purchase an Aether Cone in black/copper in the next few months for US$399. A white/silver version will be available towards the end of the year.

The Aether team claim that there is even more to come. “Expect new features that make life even nicer down the road,” says Lamb.

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