The introduction of Apple's Lightning dock connector replacing the tried-and-true 30-pin connector was not without controversy. Many loyal Apple consumers were not happy at the prospect of having to replace their entire collection of Apple cables and docks. Right after launch there also didn't exist any compatible accessories. That has fortunately changed, and today we are taking a closer look at a Philips speaker dock, the DS3205/12.
Initially it was thought that an adapter for using old docks with the new Lightning connector would be technically impossible, because the Lightning was not capable of transmitting analog signals. That's at least what we were told at the time by manufacturers of Apple dock accessories, but their fears proved unfounded. Apple sells an adapter for connecting new products using Lightning to the old docks, it costs £25 or € 30.
One reason it's so expensive is that in the Lightning connector an authentication chip has been integrated, which is supposed to prevent a market for unlicensed Apple accessories. It's unclear how strict Apple is managing this chip, because we're seeing an increasing number of Lightning accessories from the Far East that are significantly cheaper than Apple's own. It's the same that happened with the 30-pin connector, with everything from cables to speaker docks.
From a technical point of view, Apple is capable of updating the firmware of Lightning devices so that they won't work together with non-authorized products. This could be an unpopular move among consumers, however, so Apple is likely to be cautious we these types of measures.
Only the older iPhone 4, 4S and iPad 2 are still sold with the 30-pin connector. All other Apple products require an adapter or a dock with Lightning connector, and if you don't want to worry about future compatibility, you're better off with officially licensed accessories such as the Philips DS3205. It even has the 'Made for iPod/iPhone' logo.
It's not a cheap speaker dock, with prices around £100 or € 90 (John Lewis sells it with free delivery). For that amount of money you can afford a Bluetooth speaker dock that also works with any product compatible with Bluetooth A2DP. The high price is partially due to the licensing costs, so the question is what the added value of a dedicated speaker dock is. Check out the rest of the review of the Philips Docking Speaker DS3205 on Hardware.info.