iPhone Hardware Accessories Roundup

Monday, January 11th, 2010

It’s been about half a year since Apple announced that they would be allowing 3rd parties to develop integrated hardware/software applications for the iPhone. Here is a roundup of what has come out so far.

wwdc keynote 2009 screenshot

In my opinion, the most exciting announcement made at the 2009 WWDC was that the 3.0 version of the iPhone operating system would support integration with 3rd party hardware. Considering the number of stupid docks out there, I fully expected there to be hundreds of new accessories for the iPhone by the end of the year.

Here we are, a little over six months out, and I decided to dig around and see just what 3rd party hardware is out there with iPhone integration goodness.


L5 RemoteL5 IR Dongle
Turns your iPhone into a universal remote.
link to site
WowWee Pico ProjectorWowWee Cinemin Pico Projector
Small projectors are being touted by tons of hardware manufacturers. I have yet to see anyone buy one but maybe since this one works with the iPhone it will be the first.
link to site


This is an armband that monitors your sleep to wake you up at exactly the right moment in your cycle. Even more compelling to me than the waking up is that it monitors your sleep and makes nice charts of it on their web site.
link to site
This is appealing because rather than try to invent new proprietary hardware this good looking bicycle mount reads data from standard Ant+ sensors on your bike to track everything you would want to know about your riding. The mount is carbon fiber which pretty much ensures it will cost a ton but also that I will buy one.
link to site


iCarte RfID ReaderiCarte RfID Reader
This one doesn’t get much press, but a cheap reliable RfID reader could be just what the RfID industry needs to get their technology into smaller businesses and retail shops.
link to site
Square is getting a ton of press despite their newness in the industry and the fact that their dongle looks like absolute crap and plugs into your microphone jack. Of course, their software looks tip top and the company was started by Jack Dorsey of Twitter fame. I won’t be impressed until I see one work in person or they beat out the wikipedia entry for the word “square” in google rankings.
link to site
Verifone Payware MobileVerifone Payware Mobile
A much better looking accessory from a proven player in the payment processing biz, the press is largely ignoring these guys because they are all in love with Square. What will probably kill these guys is the fact that they are a very 1.0 company and generally a pain in the ass to buy services from.
link to site


Nasa Chemical SensorNasa Chemical Sensor
As far as I know, this one isn’t available for sale but it is very cool to see that those way smart folks at NASA are out hacking up their own accessories. I recently watched a documentary about the Apollo Space program and wondered if you could now replace the 1975 NASA Central Command Center with a good iPhone app.
link to site

What I’d like to see

This is a good start, but I really hope and expect to see some crazy and varied 3rd party hardware add-ons this year.

  • A real barcode scanner, you know with a lazer and not trying to make the camera do something it doesn’t want to.
  • A voltmeter
  • An oscilloscope
  • Still no Dj accessories? Despite the billion iPod mixers, you guys can’t make an auto-tune mixer or something?
  • Um, lazertag guns
  • Expensive home automation systems, so people on MTV cribs can replace all the light switches in their house with iPhones.
  • Something that plugs into my power tools. Don’t know how, but surprise me. Chainsaw hero?