Hidden Radio will be available for pre-order at $189 a piece in August.
Could the next iPod come from a two-man consumer electronics company headed by an Aussie?
John van den Nieuwenhuizen, born and raised in Sydney, is certainly having a crack. And the former lead designer of HP's TouchPad, who also spent several years designing phones for Motorola, has raised almost $1 million via Kickstarter to help him realise his vision.
The product goes into production next week and will be in the hands of the first customers in September.
With a former Motorola colleague, Vitor Santa Maria, van den Nieuwenhuizen has launched a new technology brand, Hidden.
Their very first product, the $189 Hidden Radio portable Bluetooth speaker for mobile devices, is a hit before it even rolls off the factory floor. Production - completely outsourced - begins in Hong Kong next week with a first run of "thousands" of units.
More products are on the way, starting off with audio gear but expanding more broadly over the long term.
Hidden Radio's round shape projects sound at all angles.
Like Apple gear, Hidden's success has been in its simplicity. Hearing van den Nieuwenhuizen speak about his design philosophy is like listening to Apple head designer Sir Jonathan Ive.
"A lot of people think to make a product more competitive you have to add more stuff but I think it's what you take away that makes a product truly great," he says.
"Apple have proved that mantra it's not what they add it's what they take away and once you get rid of all the complexity the product is really simple."
Hidden Radio co-founders John van den Nieuwenhuizen and Vitor Santa Maria.
But van den Nieuwenhuizen says what's known as the "Apple design philosophy" is actually heavily influenced by Japanese design and legendary Braun designer Dieter Rams.
The first lot of Hidden Radios to be manufactured will go to Kickstarter pledgers in September but everyone else can pre-order from the middle of next month.
There are no physical buttons or screens on the unit, and users control the volume by twisting the cap. Its round shape allows sound to be projected at all angles.
"Everything is so digital now and there's nothing you can literally interact with; I think there's something gratifying about physically controlling the volume."
In Sydney this week to give a talk at the University of New South Wales, where he graduated with a degree in industrial design, van den Nieuwenhuizen said Kickstarter funding had enabled an entirely new model for entrepreneurs who wanted to build hardware - which is typically extremely capital intensive.
He said investors "love software but not so much hardware", so he sat on the design for Hidden Radio for some time. The business would likely never have got off the ground had it not been for the 5358 Kickstarter users who pledged $938,000 - anywhere from $20 to $659 each - in return for early access to the product and other goodies.
He outsources virtually everything except the design of the product, and thanks to the internet can manage the business from anywhere in the world. Santa Maria lives in Milan, while van den Nieuwenhuizen is based in San Francisco.
"Now I'm in Sydney and i'm still working full-time on my startup, our web developer is in Montreal, our acoustic engineer is in Santa Cruz, our development team is in Hong Kong," he said.
"I think it's this new model of working that the internet promised but it's just starting to get up to speed now with the faster internet connections."
Van den Nieuwenhuizen, who grew up in Birrong near Bankstown, moved from Sydney to Milan around 2001 to be at the centre of the design world. He worked for Motorola in Milan and Chicago, before jumping ship to HP in August 2007.
The HP TouchPad was the biggest product van den Nieuwenhuizen has worked on. He was the lead designer out of hundreds on the TouchPad team.
The tablet computer went on sale in the US in July last year and in Australia on August 15 last year. But just days after the Australian launch the product was discontinued by the company, with the remaining stock sold off for $99 a piece in a fire sale.
"I usually don't say much about it because it's a shame how the CEO shut it down really quickly when it had potential," he said.
Although he designed the product, van den Nieuwenhuizen said that HP chose the wrong display - "it was a little bit thicker" - and launched it at the wrong time.
"It was unfortunate for them Apple came out right when they were ready to launch and they were much thinner. HP really had some brilliant stuff in the pipeline and if they stuck with it I think they could've done quite well."
The failure of the TouchPad was the spark that caused van den Nieuwenhuizen to leave HP and launch Hidden Radio, which he'd already been developing in the background.
Now, HP's decision to kill the product that van den Nieuwenhuizen poured his heart and soul into is fast becoming the best thing to happen to his career.