30 best Lightning accessories
13th Jan 2012 | 10:00
Speaker docks, charge cables and adapters for Apple's newest devices
As was rumoured beforehand, these devices ditched the old, wide-dock connector that Apple has used for years in favour of the new Lightning connector. The tiny new connector takes up much less space in the body of the device, but does mean that all these new gadgets aren't compatible with the old dock's cables and other accessories.
Unsurprisingly, manufacturers are bringing out whole new ranges of toys that play nicely with the new connector, and this is what's available so far.
Naturally, Apple makes plenty of Lightning accessories, including some unique adapters that aren't available from third parties as yet.
For a start, you've got its standard Lightning to USB cable (£15), for charging and syncing your device, and the Lightning to 30-pin Adapter (£25) and Lighting to 30-pin Adapter (0.2m) (£30) for turning your old cable or accessory into one that's ready for the latest devices.
There's also the Lightning to Micro USB Adapter (£15) so you can use any old micro-USB cable to charge your device.
The former offers HDMI output for your device, as well as a second Lightning port, so you can keep charging it while it's connected to a big screen. The latter is the same, except with an analogue VGA output, for connecting to older screens or projectors.
Those who like to transfer photos to their iPhone or iPad aren't forgotten, either. The Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader (£25) lets you connect a full-size SD card to your iOS device, so you can transfer photos.
The Lightning to USB Camera Adapter (£25) does the same thing with USB card readers.
Scosche has introduced three main Lightning-compatible lines, all focused around charging. The strikeDRIVE 12W ($30) can charge the fourth-generation iPad and any other Lightning device from your car.
The strikeDRIVE 5W ($25) is the same, but provides less power, so is only really suitable for the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch and iPad mini.
The strikeBASE 12W ($35) are pretty much the same, but charge from the mains. They feature folding wall prongs, so they can be packed away easily (though are currently only planned for the US).
The strikeLINE ($30) is a USB Lightning charging and syncing cable that retracts to keep itself compact, but can extend to three feet at its longest.
Belkin offers the Car Charger with Lightning connector (£25) for keeping your device topped up on the road, though it's worth noting that its output is 10W – lower than the 12W it's wise to use for the fourth-generation iPad, but more than enough for the latest iPhone and iPod touch, and the iPad mini.
There's also the Car Charger + Lightning ChargeSync Cable (£30), which is essentially the same, but with a USB-to-Lightning cable that's separate from the charger, rather than integrated.
Belkin also does the Charge + Sync Dock (£30), which is slightly pushing it as a Lightning accessory, since it doesn't actually have a Lightning connector of its own, but we're counting it anyway.
It's a stand designed to accommodate the iPhone 5 or fifth-generation iPod touch, including an audio jack pass-through, since the headphone slot is not on the bottom. You have to slot your own Lightning cable into the hole provided if you want to actually charge and sync, but it's one of the first docks for the iPhone 5.
Griffin has produced a veritable cornucopia of Lightning USB syncing and charging cables. The 2' USB to Lightning Cable (£13) is a straight USB Lightning cable; the 3' USB to Lightning Cable (£15) is the same, but 12 inches longer; the 4' Coiled USB to Lightning Cable (£20) is a springy cable that extends to 48 inches at maximum; and the 10' USB to Lightning Cable is a very, very long sync-and-charge cable (£25).
Griffin also produces the obligatory car charger; in this case the PowerJolt SE Car Charger with Lightning Connector ($24.99), which offers charging at 10W – enough for all devices.
JBL was first to the punch on Lightning speaker docks, and the OnBeat Venue Lightning ($300) is the larger and more feature-packed of the two, offering Bluetooth wireless streaming, as well as letting you dock your iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch, iPad mini or 2012 iPod nano.
The OnBeat Micro (£60) is the more space-friendly option, letting you dock your iPhone 5, new iPod touch or 2012 iPod nano to charge them and play music, but also take it away with you to listen to, thanks to its rechargeable battery.
GEAR4 offers the Lightning HomeCharger (£25) for charging your device from the mains, but its 5W output means it's only suited to the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch, 2012 iPod nano and iPad mini.
You can get versions for the UK, EU, USA and Australia/New Zealand. There's also the InCar SOLO Charger (£25) which offers exactly the same for your car, down to the 5W limitation.
Gear4's Lightning Dock (£35) is the first charging and syncing dock for iPhone 5 and fifth-generation iPod touch that actually includes a Lightning connector. Unlike Belkin's offering, though, there's no audio-jack pass through.
The Bose SoundDock Series III ($250) is the audio company's first Lightning accessory, letting you charge and play music from any Lightning-equipped iPhone or iPod.
Philips has now announced its range of Lightning docks, though there are no prices or exact shipping dates yet.
The Philips Lifestyle Music System offers FM radio, CD player and retractable Lightning dock in one package.
The Philips Portable Docking Speaker is a slim speaker with a built-in rechargeable battery for playing music from a docked Lightning-equipped iPhone or iPod.
The Philips Room to Room Docking Speaker is a small speaker dock that, despite its name, doesn't seem to be easily portable.
The Philips Bedroom Docking Speaker is a little alarm clock/speaker dock, with a Lightning port for charging your phone and a USB port for charging a secondary device