As The Dockpocalypse Nears, Bluetooth-Enabled iPhone Substitutes Abound

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Next week, Apple is expected to announce a new iPhone complete with a new dock connector, finally putting to bed the 30-pin design that’s been in use since time immemorial (so long as you can’t remember past nine years ago, like me). Rumors are that Apple will market an adapter, but there’s no telling whether that will work with all models and makes of existing iPhone audio docks, so companies have been preparing to reap the benefits of Apple’s planned obsolescence with new Bluetooth-enabled iPhone replacements that will keep those tunes pumping no matter what Apple does to its smartphone’s primary data I/O connection.

Just today TechCrunch received two tips about new products that offer this kind of solution, including the auris, a device from Shenzen-based Touchkraft, LLC that will be starting a $40,000 Kickstarter campaign Monday to fund its production, and the CoolStream, from Exeter, NH-based Exeter Science and Entertainment. The auris plans to offer Kickstarter pre-orders at $24 per unit, and will retail for $40. The CoolStream is already available on Amazon for $40. But if you’re looking for a solution today for less (or more), there are actually already plenty of other options out there.

One that’s consistently well-reviewed on Amazon is the very specifically named “Wireless Bluetooth Music Receiver for Bose Sounddock / Beatbox / B&W Zeppelin / Phillips / JBL and other dock stations,” which is currently listed for $25.43 with free shipping. ThinkGeek also offers one for $39.99 which is currently in stock, and there are a number of other options on Amazon, including this one and this one with varying reviews. For those looking to spend more money (for questionable, if any, added functionality), there’s the iVolare adapter aimed at use with systems from higher-end makers like Tivoli.

What a lot of the reviewers seem to get hung up on, and what is really the biggest drawback of all of these devices, is that none is self-powered, meaning that if you’re using it with a wireless dock like my trusty old Altec Lansing IMT620, you’re out of luck when not plugged into a wall outlet if your dock stops supplying power to your iPhone or whatever’s attached to the dock at that point.

Another would-be entrant in this market was the Pear (so named seemingly only to make the catchy tagline “Pair with Pear” work), but that project ended quickly after a trademark violation complaint from an unnamed source to Kickstarter got it booted off the site. The project creators are promising to return once they’ve cleared things up, but by the time it gets funded and actually ships, people really interested in looking for a solution will likely have found one.

Apple likely will end up making a big change to its connector that will be inconvenient for those with nine years’ worth of accumulated gear, if not a more serious e-waste issue. In the end, though, what users don’t need is another Kickstarter for one of these gadgets, which are readily and abundantly available, but an original design that solves the remaining problem of power draw. Someone throw a watch battery or built-in rechargeable unit in one of these things. I’ll back that in a heartbeat.

Note: I wish I’d coined the term Dockpocalypse, but a simple Google search reveals that at the very least TWiT beat me to it by a few weeks.