In my job as Playlist’s Reviews Editor, I see pretty much every iPod accessory on the market up close and personal. Some of these accessories use Apple’s special iPod dock connector—you know, that little port at the bottom of your iPod or iPod mini—to communicate with the iPod. This connector provides impressive functionality, including data transfer, power/charging, player control, and high-quality audio output. (From what I gather, it can also do other neat stuff we haven’t seen yet.) Suffice it to say that I’m a big fan of the dock connector.
But here’s the rub: Many of the accessories that use the dock connector do so by, well, docking —you have to place your iPod in a form-fitting cradle that holds the iPod safely and comfortably. Again, cool idea that works great, but only if your iPod is naked. If you’ve got your ’Pod in a protective case, it won’t work with these accessories—it’s got too much stock for the dock.
You can always remove the case first, but a good number of cases—especially those that offer the most protection—require a bit of effort to take off. For example, this afternoon I was trying out Speck’s new
ToughSkin, an extra-durable “skin” case that offers significant shock and scratch protection. It’s a great case, but not one that’s designed to be taken off and put back on quickly. So someone who needs a case like the ToughSkin effectively has to give up on dock-cradle accessories. (This is actually the main reason that, despite all the great super-protective iPod cases out there, I use flipcases for my own iPods: I have to test a lot of these accessories and it’s just plain easier to take my iPod out of a flipcase for “docking.” Don’t get me wrong: I like the flipcases. But there are times I need more shock protection and would love to use something like the ToughSkin.)
So here’s one of the top items on my iPod accessory wish list: a dock connector extension cable. One that plugs into the bottom of a dockable iPod and then provides a cable—it doesn’t have to be long—with a dock connector at the other end rather than a dock plug. If I had one of these, I could attach the connector end to the dock cradle of a
Altec Lansing inMotion, or
JBL On Stage and then plug the other end into my iPod’s dock port. Presto—cool dockable accessories and safely protected iPod.
So which one of you iPod accessory vendors is going to help me out here?