How do you connect your iPod to your iMac? Well, through docking station, of course. But what if you have Video iPod, your wife has iPod Nano and your son has iPod Shuffle? All of them customized with different skins, leather cases and other surface attachments? What about those other devices like digital camera, camcorder, PDA and a cellphone lying around? A docking station or a cable for all of them! Soon your your desk is a mess cluttered with a number of docking stations and cables for each device and your are out of the free ports to connect the one you need at the moment. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one dock to hold them all?
Well, it seems that Apple feels your pain. Recent patent filing shows that Apple is working on a “Universal docking station for handheld devices” that should solve most of the problems described above. As you can see from the picture, this docking station can be a stand alone device that connects to computer or music system through separate cables and dataports. Alternatively it can be integrated inside your iMac, home stereo or even the desk to reduce cable clutter.
And Apple has thought of a great number of ways of how you can fit the different sized handhelds there. While the base of the docking station containing various data ports is stable, the device holding area will contain a number of clever mechanical tricks to accommodate different sized devices. These tricks include a number of various sliding, bending, conforming, rotating or pivoting members that adjust to accept and firmly hold in place handhelds of various sizes and shapes.
So with all mechanical problems for universal iPod dock apparently solved, we can expect to see one in Apple stores pretty soon. But what about the other devices, like my Sony PSP and Motorola KRZR cellphone, can I dock them too? Probably not. Apple doesn’t say anything about the different data transfer and power input jacks on other devices. But if they can come up with a clever way to solve this problem too… Now that will be one cool gizmo to have.
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