I’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?).
As 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.