Lightning wirecutters

Posted on Oct 5, 2012 in iPhone, Opinions

“Snips by Flickr user Sarae

When iOS 5 introduced wireless syncing, many people stopped connecting their iOS devices to their PCs and Macs altogether. But the dock connector and 30-pin accessories have meant that docking solutions have remained very popular for other accessories such as speaker docks, car connectors and other accessories.

Products like tizi and tizi+ started a trend of wi-fi based accessories and Apple’s continuing improvements to AirPlay and the slowly growing number of AirPlay devices have increased that trend. However the additional cost and slightly unfamiliar setup have meant that simple docking accessories have still been far more popular overall.

However the new lightning connector seems set to introduce a tectonic shift in favour of wireless accessories and audio devices: most users will be unwilling to invest in 30-pin accessories that are now seen as “legacy” or “outdated” technology (despite Apple’s insistence that they will support both connector technologies for some time).
At the same time, there will be many households that have 30-pin AND lightning-based devices (e.g. a new iPad and iPhone 5), so switching to lightning connector-only devices isn’t an option either.

Already the number of bluetooth-based AD2P-compatible devices seems to be increasing and manufacturers with wi-fi or bluetooth-based accessories and know-how will have an advantage for the foreseeable future. Newer standards like AirPlay and Bluetooth 4.0 will make these new accessories easier and more efficient to use, which should improve ease of adoption.

The lightning connector will push consumers towards wireless accessory standards. I for one welcome our new wireless future: the ubiquitousness of accessories like tizi+ on my home wireless network is far more convenient than conventional 30-pin accessories, so let’s hope we can cut some more wires in the next few years.