Zombie peripherals / changes to the dock connector

So the popular blogs are all talking about what the future holds for the new iPhone. To summarise they basically all agree that the 5 is going to have a bigger screen, along with a redesigned dock adaptor and the headphone jack moved to the bottom.

Lots of people are focussing on the screen, but it’s the change in dock that interests me. I don’t know how much I trust the rumour mills – Apple keep their cards notoriously close to their chest. Looking at the photos the dock looks about half the size of the current one.

What are Apple thinking?

There are so many peripherals that rely upon the dock. So many companies that are going to have their market disappear within the next 4 years. In effect the head has been chopped off the peripherals you have, turning them into zombies.

I already own one zombie peripheral in the form of a speaker dock. This suffered from the switch away from the FireWire pin providing power. Ok, it still works, I can still play music on it, but it won’t charge anything younger than my 5th gen iPod.

This change in dock is going to completely obsolete this one, and my other speaker dock that I have.

There are of course alternatives to playing music through a dock. There’s Bluetooth audio from the phones now a days and also AirPlay. Theres also third party solutions such as Sonos and Squeezebox. Apple’s not shy of getting rid of old technology from their hardware. Look at the floppy, an more recently the cd drive on the MacBook air.

This is where I’ve seen a gap in the market that could be huge. I’m putting this idea out there in case anyone can actually act on it. If you do, make all the money you want from the idea, just send me some for free.

What we need is something to breathe life into the zombie peripherals. My idea is a little dongle that effectively blanks out the dock connector. There are two dongles that you could build, and they are, surprise surprise, Bluetooth and AirPlay.

Ok, why not buy the airport express? Because its expensive, more than I need, uses a plug, the list goes on.

I want something that goes over the old dock and allows me to carry on using it. Is that too much to ask for?

Think about it, the dock provides all the power it would need, and there is obviously audio there. It all makes sense to me.

I don’t know how difficult it would be, but I’m sure it’s possible. I’m fairly sure that if this exists even people with a current iPhone would buy it for convenience. The key would be in the price. Anything above £30 would be too much.

Needless to say, I’m nervous about this change. I don’t want to have more useless tech hanging around my house. I’m not against change, it’s just the sheer depth of this change that makes me twitch.

Who needs iCloud?

There have been a lot of people talking about how great the new Apple iCloud is going to be, and whilst I agree that it will be useful, it is nothing new. Also, if you have an older phone (like me) you wont be able to benefit from it as apple are no longer getting iOS updates.

I use Google Apps which provides me with the mail, contacts and calendar syncing. I have to say it is an excellent service considering its free. Once you have activated mobile support in the Google Apps admin, its a simple configuration exercise to get everything synced over the air.

Connect your phone to Google using exchange as the protocol. You can get more info on how to do this by going to http://m.google.com/. When you have entered your details, select what you want to sync out of Mail, Calendar and Contacts. (I sync all three)

You now have your phone set up (and backing up contacts) to the cloud. Now to get those contacts into your mac. Simples. Go to address book preferences, and select accounts.

Apple Address book and Google

Tick the box next to Synchronize with Google and click on the configure button.


Thats it. You can then head on over to iCal to get your calendar synchronised too.