Along with cases, the positioning of the connector naturally lends itself to comfortable placement in a dock. While a series of kits might expand the functionality of the iPhone, a dock could allow Apple to use the Smart Connector to change the perception of the iPhone, much like it did with the iPad Pro. Assuming it’s part of a rebranding of the 5.5-inch model from Plus to Pro, it offers an opportunity to pivot from a powerful handset to a small next-generation mobile computer.
Slap the iPad Pro in a sturdy charging dock, grab any handy Bluetooth keyboard...kinda works like a computer. The iPhone Pro could do this too.Credit: Logitech
Despite a proliferation of third-party charging stands, Apple only offers a single, bare-bones iPhone Lightning Dock for $49, and it took Logitech to create the Logi Base, an iPad Pro dock that uses the Smart Connector for charging. But with the iPad Pro, a keyboard makes the most sense, and while I’m quite sure Logitech is already prototyping an ultra-portable Smart Keyboard for the iPhone, I think Apple’s plans are bigger than typing.
A Smart Dock could expand the iPhone’s capability in ways that just aren’t possible now. For example, a speaker dock could make the Hey Siri function rival the usefulness of Amazon’s Echo. An audio dock could turn your iPhone into a Sonos-like sound system. And an Apple Watch-style magnetic inductive charging dock would take a little bit of friction out of having to charge your iPhone every night.
But the most intriguing potential for a Smart Dock is on the desktop. Apple’s Pro devices are all linked by their ability to let you work faster and more efficiently, and a desktop charging dock that expands the iPhone to a larger screen or offers the ability to connect a hard drive would be a real game-changer for the iPhone, expanding it far beyond its current capabilities.
On the iPad Pro, the Smart Connector might be little more than an easy way to connect a keyboard, but its potential is far greater. It could be the thing that turns the iPhone from smart to genius.
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