Hey, did you hear? The iPhone 7 doesn’t have a headphone jack! Sure, Apple included a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter in the box, but that doesn’t help when you want to charge your phone and listen to music at the same time.
Enter a bigger, better dongle. The iLDock is still a Kickstarter with a lot of hurdles to clear, but if it makes it to market, it could be the best solution yet to the headphone jack problem. Of course, that’s not saying a lot.
The premise of the iLDock is simple: it’s a tiny rectangle about the size of a couple quarters that plugs into the Lighting port on your iPhone 7. It then gives you a Lightning port and a 3.5mm jack to connect to. If you buy the bigger, more stupid-looking model, you also get a USB port and SD card ports.
The impressive thing about this dock is how cheap it’s being sold for. On Kickstarter pre-order (which has some serious caveats — see below) it’s going for $10, which is exactly $1 more than the official Lightning-to-3.5mm jack adapter from Apple. If the project delivers (and on time), that’s an absolute steal.
As I said, I have some reservations. The project is promising delivery in late November. Given that it hasn’t started manufacturing yet — and doesn’t have the cash to do so until its Kickstarter ends in four weeks’ time, that is a delivery goal somewhere between “ambitious” and “never gonna happen.”
A $10 price is also cause for concern. Officially, Apple won’t say how much it charges to license the technology behind its Lightning port, but rumors put it at around $4 per accessory. Then you’ve got the cost of actually manufacturing the case, the headphone port, all the circuitry, shipping, Kickstarter’s cut, and paying the people to produce the awful promo video. I’m struggling to see how that will be done for less than $10 per unit.
The fact that the “lightening” port is also misspelt doesn’t fill me with confidence, either.
In any case, those misgivings haven’t stopped hundreds of people spending thousands of dollars to pre-order dongles over the last 24 hours. Let’s hope for their sake, as well as the future sanity of all iPhone 7 owners, that the iLDock pulls through.