A Fix for Obsolete Docks

Apple announced today that it’s switching from the 30-pin connector on the bottom of iPods, iPhones, and iPads to something more compact. You can hardly blame Apple’s designers, since that connector is more than a decade old. But the move will essentially obsolete millions of iPod/iPhone docks already in consumers’ homes. Want to use your beloved B&W Zeppelin Mini with your new iPhone 5? You’re out of luck, unless you want to plug the phone into the dock’s 3.5mm analog input jack, or use the bulky new adapter that Apple showed at its event.

Another possible solution was announced today by BlueAnt Wireless, a company known for making some of the best Bluetooth headsets on the market. You can use BlueAnt’s new Ribbon Bluetooth receiver in various ways. You can stream audio from your phone to the Ribbon then into your iPod dock through the dock’s 3.5mm analog input. You can stream into your car stereo if your car has a 3.5mm input. Or you can plug in a set of headphones, clip the Ribbon onto your clothing, and stream from your phone into the headphones.

The $69 Ribbon is slated to ship next month. It includes play/pause/skip controls that should work with iOS and Android phones, and uses Apt-X technology for better sound quality.

Still, that’s another cable you have to connect to your formerly attractive, once-uncabled dock. We self-proclaimed masters of the audio universe at Sound+Vision think we have a better idea. How about a Bluetooth adapter that snaps right onto an outdated iPod dock’s 30-pin connector? It’s no major engineering exercise; the connector has the necessary power and audio connections. It would keep the dock’s clean look, and make it work seamlessly with Apple’s latest stuff as well as with Androids and even Bluetooth-equipped laptops. Seems to us that some enterprising accessory manufacturer oughtta pick up on this idea fast.

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