October 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Kickstarter Campaign To Rescue iPhone, iPod Docks From Obsolescence


Now that almost every iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owner finally seems to have an iPod-connecting dock, speaker, or car, Apple saw fit to switch up its dock connector in the iPhone 5 and subsequent models like the recently-released iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.

Apple can do whatever it wants with its proprietary connector, of course. Its decision to shrink the connector from the wider, 30-pin slot to the tiny “lightning” connector was almost certainly a design consideration. Every cubic micrometer counts in iPhone design. Besides, Apple offers a 30-pin to lightning adapter (for $29).

That doesn’t change the fact that once people upgrade to the latest iOS devices, as they tend to do, so many of their wired speakers, docks, and car connectors will be rendered at least more annoying to use, with the adapter. On top of that, people who know about wireless AirPlay connections would prefer an upgrade anyway, so many of these docks could be headed to the dustbin even after people buy the adapter. (Note that this issue only affects docks that lack wireless AirPlay connections – the ones that let you zap music from any music apps, even the ones without native AirPlay support.)

Luckily, there’s a fix for iPod dock obsolescence making the rounds on Kickstarter, and it has already blown past its funding goal. Auris skye is basically a dongle that sits in any iPod dock with the old 30-pin connector. It’s an AirPlay receiver that can work without a WiFi network — in other words, it is its own network — and any iOS app can send sound to it.

auris skye

All of your cutting iOS 7 apps can play through your old school iPod speaker set-up, using this thing. Some of your apps will do it natively. And because speakers (and headphones) make the biggest difference in sound quality, it means you can hang onto whatever sound quality your speakers have, without paying for that again. And Auris skye connects on WiFi, so it sends all of your music’s data, unlike some (but not all) Bluetooth audio speakers, which compress music data.

Here are a few other things we like about this auris skye concept, which should soon go into production (its Kickstarter funding ends on October 24, 2013, with an estimated shipping date of December 2013):

  • Its use of WiFi Direct means it’ll work at campsites, cabins, cottages, ski lodges, beaches, and so on with rechargeable iPhone/iPod docks (just like one of these).
  • It works not only with iOS, but with Android too, via DLNA or one of these Android AirPlay apps. It also works with Windows computers, also using DLNA. In other words, not just Apple stuff.
  • It’s going to get made, unlike lots of other stuff on Kickstarter. With 16 days to go, the auris skye has $135,287 in funding — well in excess of its $56K goal.
  • It works whether your dock has WiFi or not, so it’s actually adding a feature to older non-wireless docks.
  • It could prevent millions of devices from ending up in landfills.

The auris skye will cost $89 retail.

(Image courtesy of Flickr/Robert S. Donovan)

  • Jackson Ten Eyck

    This is why I dislike Apple. Perhaps it is primarily a design consideration (perhaps), but Apple stands to make a lot of money with a switch like this as well. Have you written about European regulations attempting to make chargers universal? Predictably, Apple is the only holdout.

  • Josh L

    bluetooth receiver for 30-pin docks. $10 shipped with amazon prime.