At a Glance
Extender/adapter for using dock-connector accessories while your iPod is in a protective case.
Over two years ago I wrote an open plea to iPod-accessory vendors for a “dock-connector extender” — basically some sort of adapter or extension that would let you use dock-cradle accessories with an iPod stuck inside a protective case. In April of this year, I reviewed the first such product, CableJive’s hand-made Dock Extender Cable, and found it to be a decent solution, if a bit unwieldy. It took a few months more before we finally saw the type of product I was really hoping for back in early 2005: a small adapter that simply extends the dock-connector port outside of a protective case. Not surprisingly, that product, the Dock Extender, comes from SendStation, a company that’s made its mark by providing small dock-connector accessories such as the excellent PocketDocks.
The Dock Extender is a very simple product: less than an inch tall, the top provides a male dock-connector plug and the bottom hosts a female dock-connector port. You plug the top of the Extender into the dock-connector port on the bottom of your iPod — the Extender is thin enough to fit nearly any case with a dock-connector opening — and then sit your iPod in your favorite dock-cradle accessory, such as an iPod speaker system or an AV dock. That’s all there is to it; you can now use your iPod with these accessories without having to take the player out of its case.
The only drawback here is that this arrangement puts a decent amount of stress on the dock-connector plugs and ports; without any support, your iPod’s weight would be born entirely on these thin connectors. So SendStation includes a nifty dock-cradle insert that uses Apple’s Universal dock design. The insert fits in any Universal dock cradle and provides an opening into which the Dock Extender fits perfectly; your iPod then rests against a metal brace connected to the insert. At the top of this brace is a rubber cushion that’s flat on one side and rounded on the other; you face the flat side forward when using the insert with full-size iPods and put the rounded side forward for use with nanos and minis. This insert adds to the cost of the Dock Extender, but it’s well-designed and protects all three pieces of your setup — iPod, dock, and Extender.
The Dock Extender also works with bottom-mounted iPod accessories such as microphones and FM transmitters, letting you use these accessories while keeping your iPod protected inside its case.