Over two years ago, I wrote an editorial for Playlist in which I noted that despite all the benefits provided by the iPod’s dock-connector port, this connector poses one significant obstacle:
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. [C]ool 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 remove your iPod from its case whenever you want to use these accessories, but with many cases this isn’t a trivial task. A better solution, I proposed, would be a “dock-connector extension cable”—one end would plug into the dock-connector port of your iPod, and the other end would plug into the dock connector of your favorite accessory. You could use your iPod, in its case, with speakers, transmitters, and the like.
It seemed like an obvious idea to me. And if comments we’ve received in response to that article, by email and in our forums, are any indication, many iPod owners thought so, too. Unfortunately, even though several vendors hinted to Playlist that they were working on just such a product, two years later we still hadn’t seen it.
(While we were waiting, several case vendors, including Agent 18 and iSkin, came up with a different solution to this problem: to include, with a case, a dock adapter for Apple’s Universal dock system that fits an iPod while in that case. Unfortunately, this solution works only with those accessories that use a Universal dock.)
Given how long it’s been since that editorial/plea, I nearly gave up hope. But over the past month, two vendors have contacted us, each to let us know that they’ve come up with just such a solution. CableJive’s iPod Dock Extender Cable is a two-foot dock-connector extension cable and SendStation’s Dock Extender is a small adapter, in the spirit of the company’s PocketDock products, that extends your iPod’s dock-connector port outside of its protective case.
We’ve already received a sample of the CableJive product, and SendStation will be providing us with a Dock Extender as soon as it’s available; we’ll be reviewing both here on Playlist very soon.