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Aperion Audio sent over a press release announcing its new. The gadget connects to the local network via a wireless or Ethernet connection, and pulls music from a desktop or laptop running Windows 7. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come cheap, costing a meaty $499 which includes the Aris Wireless Card for Windows.

‘The ARIS Wireless Speaker combines our experience in making wireless speaker systems with the media capabilities of the Windows operating system,’ says Mike Hopkins, Product Development Manager at Aperion Audio. ‘The result is effortless listening from any room. Plus, with the new ARIS app, smartphone users can choose music from any device on their network and instantly send it to any connected Aris speaker.’

Aperion says the speaker can quickly connect to a home network with the push of a button using Wi-Fi Protected Setup. The ‘Play To’ feature in Windows 7 allows users to send music from any device on the network to an Aris speaker located where they want to listen.

According to Aperion, key features include a single-piece brushed aluminum enclosure (6.5 inches high by 14.75 inches wide), an adjustable and removable steel base, and six internal speakers consisting of four powered drivers and two passive radiators. Overall it has a total power of 100w RMS.

‘Most people today store their music on a variety of digital devices, including desktops, laptops, notebook PCs, network storage drives, tablets and smartphones. These devices are usually on the home network, but users can listen to music only on a device that is physically plugged into a powered speaker or stereo system. The ARIS wireless speaker eliminates the need to move music files between devices or plug and unplug cables to hear specific tracks.’

Other features include three sound modes (natural, bass boost and enhanced stereo), and DLNA support. Windows 8 support is still pending, but the company mentioned that it should work with Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

Pre-orders will be accepted starting May 8, 2012, and the system is expected to ship mid-June 2012. The one-year limited warranty covers all defects in material and workmanship, Aperion said.

Come midnight, Kinect will be available in retail outlets across the country. Provided the system doesn’t sell out, you should be able to stroll down to your local electronics store and pick up Kinect whenever you have the time. Still, there’s something to be said for being among the first to get a newly released product and Microsoft is providing a little extra incentive for those close to NYC to get off their butts and head down to the official launch at Toys R Us in Times Square.

Toys R Us is opening its doors at midnight so it can sell Kinect as soon as calendars tick over to November 4, and Microsoft is giving the first 3,000 people to purchase Kinect a free copy of Kinect Sports, a copy of Kinect Joy Ride and a one year Xbox Live Gold subscription. That’s $150 of swag right there, but that’s not all; Microsoft is also giving the first 400 people (over the age of 18) an invitation to the launch after-party where it’s promising ‘surprise appearances.’

So who’s in line already? A lot of people, that’s who. This is Peter (right) and K (left). Peter has been sitting outside the store since 7pm on Monday, while K arrived Tuesday morning at 9am. Peter says he wants to be among the first to get Kinect, while K said he’s there to be in that first 400 going to the after party. When asked if that was the only reason he was there so far in advance, he responded, ‘That’s it. I wanna go to the after-party.’ Peter said he was buying the peripheral for himself, while K said his wife would probably play it a lot.

Given how early these guys showed up (and their lack of gear), I’m assuming they’re from New York. However, one family made a trip from eastern Pennsylvania to make sure they get Kinect first and they were well prepared for the long wait with plenty of blankets and snacks to keep them going. Arriving at 7 a.m. this morning, they they seemed extremely excited about the prospect of Kinect and admitted they’d be taking it out of the box ‘as soon as they got home.’ That said, they also admitted that they arrived so early because they wanted to secure after-party tickets.

‘We got the train in the middle of the night to be here this morning at 7am,’ said mom, cheerfully. ‘We were going to come in last night but we checked the Facebook page and they said there were only about 20 people so far so we waited until today.

‘We were about 40th in line when we arrived but people have been showing up and joining their friends up ahead so I think we’re probably about 60th now. We’ll still be in the top 400, though, I think.’

We counted about 80 people in the queue, but there were also plenty of empty chairs where people had left their posts, we assume in search of refreshments or a bathroom.

Things don’t officially kick off until 6 p.m. but Microsoft reps were on hand all day to give passersby a chance to try out Kinect and folks in line were encouraging people to try out the system and then join the queue. We’ll head back to Times Square later on this evening to see what’s going down so be sure to check back for more!