It seems like the iPhone has got pretty much every accessory imaginable by now… what’s the next big move in iOS accessories, and have we reached the pinnacle?
To answer the question – Yes, we have reached the end of iPhone accessories. But, perhaps that is short sighted. At this juncture, we cannot foresee what the next must-have iPhone accessory will be and we most likely will not know until a new iPhone form factor is released, incorporating massive hardware updates. I mean, how many different car chargers can you buy? The same goes for docks, dock speakers, headphones, cases, screen protectors, FM transmitters, tape deck adaptors, stands, capacitative touch gloves, styli, etc. Electronic stores have been littered with the same type of accessories going on 4 years now. Nothing new has been discovered, or released, and until the iPhone completely changes, it’s likely that nothing will.
Perhaps the most interesting consideration is the accessories we will NOT need in the future. For example, the USB cable may soon be a thing of the past. Looking closely, Apple has already headed that direction with wireless syncing in iOS 5, not to mention iCloud. With iCloud, if you download a song on your iPhone, it is automatically added to your iMac and vice versa. The same goes for taking pictures and Photo Stream. As soon as you snap the picture, it shows up on your Mac. But, that still leaves the need to charge your iPhone…. right?
Well, not exactly. Witricity is developing a way to utilize wireless charging stations. In this demonstration, Witricity used Apple products to show how a desktop surface can become a power-hotspot for accessories. Simply place your iPhone near your MacBook or iMac and it will charge wirelessly. This is not to be confused with inductive charging, which requires the devices to touch – Witircity has developed a completely wireless power system. Ultimately, Witricity stations could be placed in the walls and/or floors of our homes, making entire dwellings capable of utilizing wireless electricity.
Moreover, if Bluetooth becomes more popular and additional devices adopt the standard, companies may stop producing wired headphones (although audiophiles will surely disagree). However, other audio connections require the USB port for stereo docks. Fortunately, Apple can answer those concerns with AirPort Express and AirPlay which stream audio and video wirelessly to a stereo and/or television set.
These upgrades would completely rid the iPhone of ANY ports – a simplicity Steve may have preferred. With no USB required for syncing, power, or producing docked audio/visual, we can eliminate the 30 pin connector. With no wired headset for audio or phone calls, we can eliminate the headphone jack. POOF! It is that simple, and the technology to do so already exists. Perhaps the future of iPhone accessories has not peaked, but the future of accessories will be vastly different in the near future. Basically, forget the wires. Who needs ’em?
What do you think will be the next groundbreaking change in iPhone accessories? Leave your ideas below or comment @jim_gresham.