Accessory Compatibility, Generally: Users assumed from Apple’s initial announcement of iPhone that it would be fully compatible with iPod accessories, however, it is not. It has a recessed, concave headphone port, and though its Dock Connector is physically capable of connecting to past iPod accessories, it does not interact with those accessories in the same way a fifth-generation iPod would. Additional compatibility details are described below.
Apple Accessories: Apple has announced three self-developed accessories for iPhone. One is the iPhone Stereo Headset ($29), a pair of customized Apple iPod Earphones with a thin in-line microphone box at neck level in the cabling. The box also has a button that lets you accept or disconnect phone calls. This button is located below the microphone for one-press control of the phone, or the iPod’s media playback. A single press pauses or plays back music, as well as answering or ending a call; music fades in and out as appropriate. Two presses advances a track in the music.
Second is a Bluetooth earpiece, most likely called the iPhone Bluetooth Headset, and priced at $129. It is presumably compatible with the phone’s newer Bluetooth 2.0+EDR standard rather than the older and more widespread Bluetooth 1.2 standard. The clean black design features only a single, top-mounted button, capable of connecting and disconnecting phone calls in progress, and according to Apple both pairs with iPhone and turns on and off automatically. Four pins on the bottom are used for recharging. The Bluetooth Headset comes with a special iPhone Dock that has an adjacent port for headset charging.
Additionally, Apple has shown a photograph of iPhone in a standard white Dock similar to the ones previously sold for iPods, minis, and nanos. Past iPods sold at the $499 and $599 price points have always included Apple’s Docks. It is believed that iPhone will come with the Dock, and that spares will be sold for $29-39. The Dock will likely have a Dock Connector port and an audio output, but not a S-Video output.
Third-Party Accessories: iPhone will not fit in the vast majority of iPod cases, nor will it necessarily work with all past iPod accessories. Manufacturers will need to keep consumers informed about whether their past accessories are fully safe to use with iPhone. Because iPhones have not been provided to developers for in-house electronic or physical testing, it will be unclear until after the iPhone’s launch which accessories will have issues, and how serious those issues will be. We have been told that it is possible that certain iPod chargers may break when connected to iPhone, and that it is likely that noises from iPhone will create audio interference with older iPod speakers.
If you are concerned about possible damage to your past accessories, we strongly recommend that you await “safe for iPhone” postings on manufacturers’ web sites before connecting them to your iPhone. Brief tests may not be enough to reveal certain types of issues, and since many electronically different revisions of accessories are out there, it is all but impossible for anyone other than the manufacturer to guarantee that all versions of a specific product will work. We’ll continue to monitor official word from manufacturers, and from Apple, as the iPhone launch nears and passes.
iPhone-specific accessories are already becoming increasingly available. We have already seen over 60 iPhone add-ons announced by major vendors, including Apple, Belkin, Body Glove, DLO, Griffin, Logic 3, Macally, Marware, Monster, Speck, v-Moda, XtremeMac, and many others.