Is anyone making an Airplay adaptor for existing docks?

Discussion in 'Mac Peripherals' started by kiranmk2, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    #1
    Does anybody know if any companies (or indeed, Apple) have come up with an Airplay adaptor for current docks? Basically, a small device that plugs into the dock connector of a current non-Airplay dock that then acts as an Airplay receiver. Would be a nice little £20-30 add-on if you've already got a nice iPod dock and fancy dabbling with Airplay. The beauty would be that the dock connector would provide it the power for the wifi connection.

    Of course, I'm sure Apple would much rather you bought an ATV2 (and probably a DAC), but surely someone can see there's money to be made here?
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    itickings

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    #2
    If I understand you correctly, what you're suggesting something that basically presents itself to the dock as an iPod although it in fact isn't? Can't really see Apple being happy about that for one thing...

    Additionally, considering that new AirPlay-compatible devices will reach the market soon and that we already have the AppleTV and the Airport Express to connect to existing equipment, I don't think the market and potential profit is all that obvious.

    After all, the target audience for such a product seem to be people who aren't willing to spend lots of cash to upgrade their equipment?
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    #3
    Well, it's not "pretending to be an iPod" It's acting as an Airplay receiver (as 3rd parties are allowed to do) and out outputting the audio over a 30-pin connector.

    There must be hundreds of thousands of fairly high-end iPod docks out there (high-end is a relative term) and I think people would rather spend £20-£30 on a neat adapter rather than but another £200+ dock.
     
  4. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    #4
    I agree. I have an awesome sound system with an excellent receiver/amp. I just want an Airplay dongle to plug into the back. I don't need the wifi of the airport express nor the features of the apple tv.
     
  5. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Location:
    Chester, NJ
    #5
    You can turn off the wifi features of the AE and just use it as remote speakers via wired ethernet.
     
  6. Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    New England
    #6
    Is there really money to be made here? Can you significantly undercut the $99 price point for ATV2 or Airport Express?

    I would suspect that the volume opportunity lies with a WiFi enabled device, if it can also act as a router or hook up to your TV that's gravy.

    Bare minimum feature set. Ethernet + WiFi + AirPlay + analog and digital audio out. What would you expect the price point for this to be?

    B
     
  7. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    #7
    maybe I don't understand the technology or something. But I don;t need a router, or tv rentals.

    I do think there is a market for something in the 30-50 USD range that is simple and allows you to use airplay on a sound system.

    I know the market may focus on all in one speakers with airplay, IE ihome etc. But I have an amazing Onkyo receiver and Polk speakers. I don't want an expensive Denon receiver to use airplay. I don't need something to also hook up to my TV. Or something to act as a router.
    I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants this.
     
  8. Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    New England
    #8
    This is one of the great mysteries of life, especially in the digital age.

    Removing features can make your price go up rather than down.

    It restricts your total addressable market (in this case because there are probably more people out there who would like a WiFi enabled router or TV streamer than a wired Ethernet to audio-only Airplay device).

    Since the bitrate for lossless audio (ALAC) and SD video are about the same (~700 kbps), you can't really use any lower cost components for the processor or network components all you eliminate from the bill of materials is:

    Software (for the Airport Express)
    Software and the HDMI connector (for the Apple TV)

    My suggestion: Pick up a used 802.11g Airport Express and disable the WiFi/routing functions or buy one of the new ones refurbished.

    B
     
  9. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    #9
    does airport express have a processor? I mean it can't be anything like the one in the Atv.
    I think there is a market for a single function airport adapter for recent docking devices and audio receivers. Griffin, Kennginton, and the rest make all kinds of single function accessories for apple products.
     
  10. Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    #10
    Of course it does. Here's a teardown of one of the earlier revisions. http://www.vonwentzel.net/ABS/Dissection-Express/index.html the processor in that one is a Broadcom BCM4712.

    The question is if that processor, plus all the other chips around it to support the audio codec and such end up being cheaper in volume than simply using the Apple A4 used in the current iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV... (cost is estimated to be around $16).

    Compare to a teardown of the ATV2: http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Apple-TV-2nd-Generation-Teardown/3625/2

    You're entitled to that opinion, but I would be surprised if any of the product management folks at Griffin, Kennington, Belkin or the like would agree with you for the reasons I have outlined.

    You are FAR more likely to see a niche product like this from an "audiophile" company, like "Monster Cable" with a higher price tag than an ATV 2 or Airport Express.

    That's just my opinion.

    B
     
  11. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    #11
    I completely agree and understand!

    i think what apple will do instead of making a cheap airplay receiver solution like we want they will just make all new ipod touches be airplay receiver compatible. that way you still have to shell out some clams to get the functionality of airplay into your existing home theater ipod dock

    i remember reading that airplay was so universal that anyone savvy enough could essentially hack into their wifi home theater system to make it airplay compatible which would be the best solution in my opinion.

    it would be even cooler if apple made an airplay receiver for home theater ipod dock that wasnt too big and allowed design for a second set of prongs on top of that so one could still use and play and charge their ipods with the home theater dock and have airplay.

    but apple is always disappointing when it comes to universal functionality.

    so well see

    but i bet some tech biggies like belkin, xtreme, and others are trying to make a device that will suit our needs. i think well have to look for them for this kind of coolness
     
  12. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    #12
    I know for sure is that I'd buy it for certain. Ive seen that Belkin does a Bluetooth receiver with 3.5mm jack so even something like that would do for me bose. Airplay is still better.
     
  13. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    #13
    airfoil does this but need to JB :(
     
  14. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    #14
    I'm with you, I want exactly what your talking about. I have a stereo and just want a receiver to plug into it which will pick up airplay audio. I'm sure someone will make one in the same way you get cheap iPhone video out cables. Not supported by Apple but will cost much less than an ATV2
     
  15. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Location:
    Uk
    #15
    Exactly what i want!!!!!

    This product is exactly what i want. I want to use my amp and speakers in my living room for my itunes or iphone, without plugging in. I do not want the over priced and physically bulky AirPort express. Especially as it does way more than what i need. i do not need the USB or wireless. No way do i want ATV. The only thing of worth on that is the apple logo.

    I think someone will do this in time. Hopefully soon. We are going to have to wait ages for airplay speakers!
     
  16. macrumors regular

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    Feb 2, 2010
    Location:
    Uk
    #16
  17. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
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    Chester, NJ
    #17
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2008
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #18
    I agree brother. This is such an obvious product to make, I'm surprised we haven't seen one yet.

    I really hope it's not because Apple would rather want you to buy Airport Express. That device is just too cumbersome when all you need is an Airplay receiver that gets its power from a dock.
     
  19. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Location:
    Uk
    #19
    I agree with your comments. The airport express is far to clunky to be used as a dedicated airplay adaptor.
     
  20. Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    New England
    #20
    Just a question. Has anyone ever seen any device not from Apple that has a female iPod dock connector on it (i.e. that can plug into docks)?

    B
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2008
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #21
    I haven't. If female dock connectors are exclusive to Apple, then Apple should make the device.
     
  22. Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    New England
    #22
    Why would they?

    They already offer two inexpensive Airplay receivers (that also do more stuff) in the ATV2 and the Airport Express that will interface to a standard 3.5mm jack, and the iPod touch will do it with AirView. If $99 is too rich for your blood, buy one from the refurb store and pick it up for $79.

    Do you really think the market opportunity is larger than for any of the existing products?

    (EDIT: I have seen several dock connector extensions and passthrough cables that have a female dock connector on them, but never a device.)

    B
     
  23. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    #23

    You really don't seem to want this device to be made.
    You argued against both the profitability and technical feasibility of this product. However, both of these factors is what drives industry in my opinion. each year technology gets better and cheaper.

    Is there a market for this? Are you kidding? There are millions and millions of people who have perfectly good docking speakers that would definitely plunk down the appropriate amount of cash for airplay functionality. Neither of the current options Apple provides would be suited for this functionality.
     
  24. Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    New England
    #24
    You've got me all wrong, I'd love to see something like this made!

    I'd also love to see Apple release an xMac or at least some "headless" Mac that uses 3.5" drives, but I am a realist and know that this is not (currently) the market they are targeting.

    I'm just explaining why it's highly unlikely, from a purely business standpoint. Technically it's trivial. Remove the PSU and HDMI connector from the ATV2, and provide a new case. The teardown shows that there was already a spot for a dock connector on the ATV2 board.

    Yes, Moore's law helps, but volume helps even more. The iPhone, iPad, ATV2 all share major components, including the basic software that runs them. This partially what allows Apple to sell the ATV2 at $99. Answer me this specific question. Is the market for this larger than either the ATV2 or the Airport Express?

    If Apple made this, they are likely to annoy their partners who make docks (as they would stand to lose forward sales of Airplay enabled docks) and as no third party seems to have made a non-iPod/iPhone that can be plugged in to a dock so far it seems unlikely that this is quite as trivial as y'all think. (Why wouldn't all cheap Chinese MP3 players or even the Zune all use the dock connector if this was so easy?)

    I haven't found many AirPlay docks on the market for less than US$300. What's the price delta between the AirPlay model and a similar non-AirPlay one? (And don't forget that the AirPlay one is probably leveraging some components that exist in the non-AirPlay one.)

    B
     
  25. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    #25
    Yes, Griffin:

    http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/re...onverter-firewire-to-usb-for-iphone-and-ipod/

    Although it's been since discontinued.

    Also:

    http://www.engadget.com/2009/04/22/bluetribes-new-bluetooth-2-1-audio-receiver-for-ipod-speaker-do/

    Which somewhat does what's discussed in this thread with the exception that it is Bluetooth vs AirPlay.

    It is possible for a third party to make a product with a female iPod dock. It would allow those of us with docks/stereos without AirPlay to utilize this feature. I do not want to purchase an AirPort Express just to get my iHome dock up to snuff with AirPlay. And as I already have a first gen Apple TV, I've no use for the ATV2.

    I just hope something's in the works.
     

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