For most speakers we feature, it's all about the decibels, baby. But for the A speaker from Akoustic Arts, it's more about location. If your ears are within its narrow audio beam, you hear whatever it's playing; if not, you don't.
Representatives recently told Maxim that the speaker is named A because "this letter has a conical form, just as the sound beam that spreads out of our speaker."
We heard a prototype back at CES 2015 and—as demonstrated in this brief video—the effect is uncanny. It really does sound like you're wearing headphones...but without the headphones. Although the technology does have its limitations (don't expect the bass to rumble the fillings out of your teeth), the sound is clear and pretty amazing.
They're putting out a Junior version that's smaller and meant more for short-range such as desktops, and an Original version that'll send focused audio up to 30 feet across the room.
Having already blown through its Indiegogo goal on the first day, it's still available at the regular earlybird level ($290, 47% off retail) for the smaller A Junior and the super earlybird level ($510, 45% off retail) for the larger A Original.
Eventually this technology may become more commonplace and affordable (not to mention wireless). But in the meantime, we're willing to pay the price for one of the most innovative audio products out there.