Thursday, June 21, 2012

New iPhone Connector Means Wrong Time to buy a Dock

If you have your eyes on a shiny new iPhone accessory and are thinking about an upgrade to the next phone, the iPhone 5... hold on to your wallet for a while.

In fact, don't buy that dock until a month after the next iPhone comes out.   Rule of thumb of course.

Apple makes their money by staying "proprietary" but when you're the 800 pound gorilla, your proprietary standards become what the market uses.

It's been "leaked" by the technical press and the blogs that the next iPhone will come out with all sorts of features and specs.  Some are true, some are false.  One feature that has been confirmed already is a new connector for the bottom of the phone.  

Sure, that's a small detail, but it's an important one.   I see iPhone Docks for all sorts of purposes, from the very simple to the most complex.   Standing pylons that you can plug your phone into and have it act as a speaker system to fill the room with sound from the songs or streams you have on your phone are great, but if you buy it and they change things, you're not going to be so happy.  Of course most audio docks have a place for you to plug your phone or non-Apple device into it using the headphone jack, and that's what you'll be limited to in the future with your current device.

I can hear one person in particular saying "But they don't last THAT long, do they.".  He is right, electronics aren't built to last "that long" unlike my 1956 Blaupunkt Hi Fi that has tubes in it that are older than I am, but that isn't really the point, is it?

The rest of the world, Android and Windows Mobile, use a standard connector.   It's a "micro" version of the USB connector that we all know and love.  That Micro USB connector has a problem in that it is very small which means it snaps comparatively easily - be gentle with it, they don't like to be slapped around.   Nobody does, but with an electronic connector a simple shock means that you could be at the end of your relationship with your prized device.

Apple steadfastly refuses to be standard.  So they have their own "standard" connector.  It's an Apple thing, I guess that's why I am writing this on an HP laptop.   Sure they make beautiful equipment, but you have to pay for an expensive warranty and buy into their whole mindset of use it and return to the Genius Bar to have it fixed.

For the "suburban types" who don't want to learn how to repair or build their equipment, this is fine if not preferable.  Personally I prefer to know I am not limited by "standards".

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