iPod accessories are seriously a big business. The market, including online sales, was worth well over a billion dollars last year, and that number should be just a drop in the bucket compared to what we will see this year. New products come out almost every day, and they are incorporating the latest and greatest technology to take advantage of the rapidly improving not-just-for-music-anymore devices. Most of the accessories are expected – carrying cases, docks, modified clothing and equipment, FM or Bluetooth receivers and transmitters. Some accessories, though, come along that are completely unexpected. Here are five that caught us completely off guard:
This one was less surprising once we actually read about it, but at first glance it was impressive. It claims to turn your iPod into a cell phone – something that we have been waiting for Apple to do for years. What it actually does is turn your iPod into a handy phone accessory. When the BluEye is connected to your iPod via Bluetooth, the music will stop when the phone rings, and the screen on your iPod turns into a call display. The BluEye doubles as an FM receiver, too.
You know what your iPod needs? A robot. This robot is clearly inspired by a hatching egg. You lock your iPod into the top of the robot, and you can use the handheld remote control to make it move and dance. It has Kenwood speakers on board, and it can wirelessly receive tunes from your PC as well. You can even add a camera and sensor so the robot can map and remember its routes. I’m not sure exactly why it would be worth a thousand dollars, but it must be because it is selling in Japan at about that price.
Not much of a name, but the product is interesting – a dock with a difference. This dock is also an alarm clock and it has a built-in phone center, complete with digital answering machine and phone book, as well. It can all be controlled by a wireless remote, though that could be dangerous because it makes it easier to turn the alarm off and go to back to sleep. The designers obviously looked at everything that they had on their bedside table and crammed it all into one package.
The only thing better than a tiny music-and-video playing device would be a tiny music-and-video playing flashlight. Enter the Blinkit. It’s an LED light which attaches to the iPod connector. You can change the color of the light with five different lens caps, and you can reposition the mirrors to direct the path of the light. It is bright enough to be seen a couple of hundred yards away. It is advertised as being for safety and convenience, but you know it would be more fun turning it on and off in time to the music and shining it in people’s eyes. The possibilities for annoying people are endless.
This is definitely the most expensive iPod accessory out there. Audi put such effort into making the S8 iPod friendly that it can almost be called an accessory. The car has Audio Music Interface. That fancy term essentially means that there is a specially designed slot in the dash for you to slide you iPod into which integrates the iPod directly with the sound system of the car. Audi is also hinting that the AMI system will soon be expanded to include video integration as well. When that happens people may never leave their cars again.