Editors' note: We've lowered the JBL On Stage IV's rating from 7 to 6 in order to better reflect its current value among the competition. Be sure to visit CNET's list of the best iPod and iPhone speakers for the latest and greatest products hand-picked by our editors.
The JBL On Stage series has a long history as a stylish speaker dock with a small footprint. Now in its fourth generation, the design of the On Stage IV ($149) is a conversation piece unto itself, though its sound quality can't compare to the recent influx of great, affordable speakers.
The On Stage IV (and its smaller spin-off, the On Stage Micro III) looks like something you'd find in Frank Gehry's home. The fluid, organic lines of the glossy plastic weave across each other, creating a mound of speaker grilles that fire upward and out.
The overall footprint of the speaker dock is around 8 inches square, rising 3 inches high at its tallest point. At the top of the modern-looking heap, you'll find a clear plastic dock well that accepts universal inserts, including the matching clear plastic fitting that comes included. The system meets with Apple's "Made for iPhone" certification, so you can rest assured that your iPhone or iPod will charge, and that the speakers and wiring are shielded to prevent cellular interference.