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iPhone not backward compatI’m a little pissed right now.  Today I had a long drive downtown and on the way home I was planning on charging my iPhone (since battery life sucks bad) as well as listen to some of the tunes.  I upgraded my car system last year to support iPod connectors and put a dock in my car attached to my OEM stereo.  It was a project I was pretty proud I was able to do myself :-).  You can read and see about it here and here.  At the time I did this I was asked why I didn’t use a Zune…after all I do work for Microsoft.  Well I have a Zune and actually think it is a great device.  The current one brings pretty much parity with iPod from a device standpoint and has some additional features that are interesting to some.  The problem was that Zune didn’t have a great aftermarket accessory story…especially for OEM car integration. 

I researched for my specific vehicle and came across a great solution which I purchased and implemented.  One of the great stories I heard was about how many accessories were available and how they all used the same connector, etc.  This is true and a great story for iPod.  Pretty much every accessory works with every iPod/Phone connectors.  This was true for my car kit that worked with iPod and iPhone v1 (charged and played).  Today I was greeted with the message at the top of this post.  Argh.  I chose either option and the integration didn’t work nor would it act as a charger.  What?!  A bit of researching shows that others are having similar problems.  It seems that there was some significant enough changes to the 3G hardware unit that will render certain accessories useless (namely charging and interactive ones…but what other kinds are there).  I’ve been reading that Firewire support is gone in iPhone 3G and because of that there is some voltage charging requirements (must be 5V) that make some chargers useless…especially the well integrated ones. 

One of the top manufacturers of iPod/phone integration kits, BlitzSafe, is pretty affected by this and I’ve been seeing complaints sent to them.  If there was a hardware change, this could be upsetting to most that spent money on a tight integration kit.  I guess the “same connector” really isn’t and that’s a little misleading.  I’m thinking that the advertisements should really expand that asterisk on their image.

I’ve contacted my manufacturer of the device to see if they are aware of this and maybe they can provide some type of firmware update themselves (for my dock) but I’m guessing it isn’t possible…I’m going to wait to see what they say as options…if anyone know how BlitzSafe is affected and their response, I’d be interested in knowing as well.  Aside from the voltage charge feature it seems that the v1 software commands aren’t honored as well.  Hey Mr. Jobs, can you release a software update that ensures that old docks with interactive commands are mapped to any new v2.0 software commands so that you have backward compat with device accessories?  If not, I really think you should add some truth in advertising and a warning on the features (and if there is one, can someone point it out to me as a part of the official documentation?).

iPhone 3G Max Battery.appAs another aside, in dealing with the battery life for a typical business day (it was dead at 5pm), I’ve decided that I need to manage my own battery life now (oddly enough is there a battery meter that actually shows the % left rather than just the icon on the device?).  This led me to flipping different options all day.  What is funny is that Apple’s own documention on improving battery life pretty much instructs you to turn off all features that make the 3G, well, the iPhone 3G: turn off 3G, minimize use of location services, turn off push mail, minimize use of 3rd party applications.  This cracked me up.  Given that I busted out the iPhone SDK and desired to write an application.  I consider myself not a genius but not an idiot.  I honestly couldn’t figure out how to add an event handler to a button click.  Some of you may laugh…go ahead.  I didn’t find any real helpful tutorials to guide me either.  If there are some, please point me.  At any rate, if there is someone who’d like to collaborate on creating “Max Battery.app” with me, leave a comment and let’s setup a project.  Of course the downside is to actually even test this we’ll have to pay $100 and won’t even be able to give it to others to test (see developer comments in previous post).  My goal would be to write a utility app that would be one place where you could do what Apple suggests.  Currently these settings are in 4 different places.  I’d love a single button to that is labeled either “Make iPhone v1” or “Extreme Savings” or something like that which would automatically toggle all these settings off instead of individually.

Anyhow, first 24 hours.  Disappointing in the key areas that were of interest to me.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution By license.

7/14/2008 9:06 PM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
I'm similarly frustrated: neither my Belkin car adaptor (from previous vehicle)
NOR the Mazda-supplied iPod adaptor in my new car
work with the iPhone 3G... so no in-car charging - too bad for a device that only holds a days charge.

Interestingly, the Mazda website thinks "The adapter is compatible with the iPod models with a Dock connector", but as Tim says all dock connectors are (apparently) not created equal...

I like pretty much every other aspect of the 3G - but this was disappointing to say the least.
7/15/2008 6:49 AM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
Thanks for the postings! I have been very hesitant to jump off the deep end and purchase an IPhone. I found your last two posts to be very informative and much appreciated.

I have been contemplating if I should move from a "smart phone" to an IPhone. Short answer, not yet. Perhaps I will just have to wait for the Samsung OMNIA.

7/15/2008 12:16 PM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
When I went from iPod to iPhone (Edge) I had the same incompatibility issues with hardware (JBL SoundStage, etc.) which was frustrating, but not altogether unacceptable. Making 'old iPhone' accessories not compatible with the 'new iPhone' just doesn't make too much sense. If the dock were a new type of connector I might see the correlation.

I wonder if in the firmware, i.e.: would an Edge iPhone with the 2.0 firmware fire the same error message with your car kit or other accessories? That'd piss a lot more people off.
7/15/2008 12:24 PM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
Scott: From what I understand the iPhone EDGE will still work with these accessories as it is a hardware problem...I could be wrong. The Firewire charging capabilities have been in the hardware for a long time and while iPod went the route of USB, Apple never officially depricated anything so people kept using the specs that were there. Now this is a surprise to most OEMs building accessories relying on Firewire connectors. I'm thinking an iPhone EDGE with 2.0 will charge in my car.
7/17/2008 3:12 PM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
Tim, I've been having a very similar problem to you. I have a Sony head unit which I fitted after I bought my car. It worked great with iPhone 1 - controlled the music and charged the phone. However, installing 2.0 on that phone broke the ability to control it but not the ability to charge.

I'm really disappointed that this has happened. I wonder what Apple has actually gained by disabling the firewire pins on the iPhone 3G.
7/17/2008 3:55 PM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
Neil: Apple pundits have said that they abandoned Firewire charging a long time ago (really, can't be that long since the HiFi uses it). Regardless it looks like they did not properly educate their partner channel...why would anyone build off a spec that was deprecated unless someone never told them the spec was changing? My MFR, DICE, says they've been caught off guard and are working to rectify...can't wait to see their solution.
7/19/2008 1:07 AM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
7/21/2008 6:03 AM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
Thanks for the update guys. I have the DICE adaptor as well and my phone doesn't charge since I upgraded to the 3G. Way to go APPLE!
7/24/2008 5:42 PM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
It was the fifth generation iPod (which was just an update for the original iPod video) and the first Nano that started the depreciation of Firewire on the iPod. Both of these came out in October 2005. It started with not being able to sync the ipod over FW with those models. They would only sync if you plugged them in to a USB port. This sucked since Apple had been kind of slow in rolling out USB 2.0 on most of their computers, and pretty much any Mac still in everyday use at the time had a FW port. There was a rumor that the Mac Mini had been designed with a FW based iPod dock on the top of it, but it was killed at the last minute since the iPod team new that they were going to be depreciating FW on the iPod. I would have to guess that this was for cost reasons. So it has been almost 3 years since Apple started to kill off FW on the iPod.
I would have to guess that there was some cost or technical barrier that would not allow the FW charging to still be on the iPhone. As for why the controls don't work, I can only guess. It probably has something to do with Apple messing with everyone who made anything that connected to the dock, but was not licensed under the "Made for iPod" system. So Apple probably informed all of their "Made for iPod" licensees a long time ago not to depend on certain features always being there. All of the unlicensed products, well too bad for you. Really this comes down to money. Apple quickly realized how much $$ there was in the accessory market. Instead of making their own accessories and taking the market away, then just decided to take a cut of what everyone else was making by creating the "Made for iPod" licensing system.
The battery life does suck, and I would rather have a thicker phone than have to deal with some extension hanging off the bottom of the phone.

Tim, FWIW Jason O'Grady mentioned that he was looking for exactly the App you are trying to create on his recent ZDNet The Apple Core blog post. You should check it out and let people know that you have started! I'd pay $1.99 for that!
7/24/2008 5:47 PM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
Oh, one thing you are missing on your Toggle App is turning off and on location services. The GPS chip supposedly sucks down a lot of juice as well.
7/29/2008 3:06 PM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
I guess I'm one of the lucky ones. My 2008 X5 has an iPod adapter. I've been using it with my 4G iPod. Just checked with my iPhone 3G and it charges; shows playlists; plays music; connects via bluetooth; and syncs full address book.

I do get the error message "This accessory is not made to work with IPhone" but I just ignore that.
8/6/2008 12:49 PM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
I actually work for a company that makes iPod cables...If we were to come out with an adapter for around 29.99, would you guys buy?

feel free to contact me [email protected]
9/10/2008 8:03 AM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
There are adapters coming in the next few weeks that are as a pass through for the dock connector, converting 12V to 5V for the iPhone 3G.

iPhone OS 2.1 due in 48 hours should address your battery life issues too :-)
10/10/2008 1:21 AM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
Why do Apple feel like restricting their customers is a good thing?
11/9/2008 10:17 AM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
I'm really pissed off with the second generation iphone and have experienced similar problems with charging accessories etc. Most frustrating of all, the new version isn't compatible with my Mazda's bluetooth handsfree system. Whilst I can make outgoing calls hands free, internal calls can not be picked up via the handsfree. About to revert to my first generation iphone and give this one to someone else. Not worth the money I spent on the upgrade.
12/1/2008 3:05 PM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
You are not missing anything with the iPhone 3G. I got one yesterday and I’m not impressed. I have the Motorola s9 >>Bluetooth<< ($100.00) stereo light weight headset that will only sync in phone mode not stereo headset with the iPhone. Wow my new 3G iPhone suddenly feels broken. I even asked the f***ing question at the AT&T store will the iPhone work with the s9 headset (which they sell) and was told it would (never said only phone mode). The stereo headset works with less expensive phones!! I did some reading and found out that I should of done more homework than I did before buying.


Sure I can buy this appendage (a Bluetooth adapter to make my $300.00 >>>Bluetooth<<< iPhone) WORK but what a bulky eye sore JOKE.


Apple bites hence their logo…
12/18/2008 9:04 PM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
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3/18/2009 4:10 AM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
Ummm... Sierra Mist's identicon could lead people to believe you've got a Nazi audience (I realize it's not Sierra Mist's if IdenticonHandler.ashx is a little bit Dr Stangelove). You may want to look at that.
3/18/2009 7:15 AM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
AdamJTP yeah, can't help that problem. I use Gravatar, which generates them automatically.
3/25/2009 6:22 AM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
The percent battery has already been written for Jailbroken devices. Just install Cydia, and Install Boss Prefs. In Boss Prefs you'll find Enable Numeric Battery.

Last, There are many power cable replacements on eBay for your stereo. New ones provide proper voltage. Not only that but you can find many 3G capable FM modulated ones that also provide handsfree.
5/19/2009 10:55 AM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
I found an adapter that fixes this problem. I bought this Charge Converter from CableJive for my H+K iPod dock and it charges fine now. I definitely recommend checking them out.

6/2/2009 3:31 AM | # re: iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories
Great post! I’ve been very interested in car accessories for a long time. I didn’t know that iPhone 3G breaks some compatibility with accessories

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