iPhone and iPod Touch accessories are a dime a dozen, to use a clich√©. We’ve seen all kinds, everything from the very practical to the absolutely useless. iPod docks tend to lean more towards the practical side, if for anything the fact that they charge your device. Still, your iDevices all come with chargers, so there’s no real need for one. Unless, of course, that dock provides a bit of extra functionality, which is what accessory makers have seemingly figured out at this point.
Let’s take a look at some of the dock connectors for your iPod Touch or iPhone that have managed to make themselves pretty useful (as a sidenote, those with an iPhone should know that most of these connectors require that you put your handset in airplane mode as to avoid speaker interference).
These devices will help whether you want to connect your iPad to the TV, need an iPod dock with radio or just want to back up your iPhone without plugging into the computer.
Let’s take a look at some of the cooler iPod docks we’ve seen:
1) MiLi HD
This is fancy stuff. It’s an iPod dock that has an HDMI out (though we aren’t entirely sure that the iPod can output video in HD to an external component). Still, it’s nice to have an iPod dock that lets you plug into a TV while charging. From there, you can enjoy music, movies and podcasts directly from your iDevice. It’s a bit pricey at $99, but we are sure to hear more details when the device gets shown at CES.
2) iHome’s iDM70 Sound Sleeve
iHome is pretty well-known for their iDevice accessories. They’ve been at it for so long, that they’ve actually become pretty good at putting out iPod speaker systems and other accessories that let users listen to music around the house or in the office. This one contains wireless Bluetooth speakers that let you listen to music from anywhere around the house. Rather than having to move the whole system from one room to the other, you just take the speakers with you. There’s no word on pricing yet, but we will probably find out at CES.
3) Iomega SuperHero
The name of this dock may actually be pretty fitting. It’s a charging station that backs all of your iDevice’s information onto an SD card. Rather than having to plug into your computer and launch iTunes for backup. It’s especially nice for those who have iPhones and don’t always want to have to plug into their computer every night to make sure they don’t lose anything important. The dock comes with a 4GB SD card, which isn’t enough for most users, but it does come with an App that lets you choose which information you want to backup. Being that music and movies are linked to your iTunes account anyway, we figure that those aren’t as big a deal as making sure you don’t lose your contacts.
4) Panasonic 22-Inch 720p LCD HDTV with iPod Dock
We picked this one up on Black Friday for just under $200. It’s not on sale anymore, unfortunately. You may also see that some Amazon reviews say the sound is weak. We don’t have the best hearing in the world, but it works well enough for the bedroom or the kids’ room. One of the big selling points for us was the iPod dock. It charges your device and lets you play your music and watch iTunes video and video podcasts on it (sorry, no Netflix support).
iPod Docks. Everywhere.
There are more docks out there than we can even count. The good thing is that most of them are just variations of other things, such as charging stations with built-in speakers or alarm clocks. Chances are if you’ve seen the ones above, you’ve seen them all. Keep in mind that there are other docks available, such as Apple’s iPad dock with the built-in keyboard. Though we don’t even find that one exceptionally useful (considering the price) as a Bluetooth keyboard will let you type just as well on the iPad, and doesn’t lock you into portrait mode.
Either way, if you have an iDevice and want to charge it while putting it to good use, any of the above docks are definitely worth checking out.