Apple has just released a new iPhone dock, and like any other Apple product, you’ll pay a premium for its extreme simplicity.
The “iPhone Lightning Dock” costs $39, and works with any Lighting-equipped iPhone (including the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus) or iPod Touch. It’s a simple slab of white plastic, with a wide enough base to work with reasonably-sized iPhone cases. It also has an audio line-out port, so you can hook up external speakers through any 3.5 mm cable (sold separately, of course.)
This isn’t the first Lightning Dock that Apple has sold for the iPhone. In 2013, the company released a pair of docks for the iPhone 5s and 5c, but neither are compatible with other iPhones. The new one is universal, at the expense of a more form-fitted base.
That’s not to say the official dock is your only option As The Verge points out, $35 will get you a sturdier dock from HiRise that works with iPhones and iPads. You can also buy a $15 dock from Belkin that includes a fold-out auxiliary jack and audio line-out port for connecting external speakers or headphones. If you don’t have a case, an extremely basic dock with no audio output will set you back about $10.
Why this matters: While Apple’s solution is pricier than third-party docks, it’s also simpler. The design is unobtrusive, and the Lightning connection handles the audio, eliminating the need for a separate plug on the dock itself. If you care about these little details—and don’t plan to put much pressure on the screen—Apple’s dock could be worth the extra cash.