I've often wondered this myself, but having enough pointless information filling my head already (much of it about Macs /grin), I never sought an answer. But now my mom wants to know, and I promised her I'd ask. Why are Dock Adapters necessary? This came up when my mom asked me to come over and help her 'set up' the iHome radio/docked speakers my dad got her for her new office. (Yes, I realize that a college-educated, by-all-other-measures-intelligent woman should not need her daughter to spend her Saturday night teaching her to use a device whose instruction manual only has pictures... but this is the same woman who took an hour to "get" the play/pause button in iTunes and still doesn't understand how she can pause a live TV show even if she's not recording it. But whatev.) So she plunked her 3rd gen. iPod nano right into the dock, I told her she needed to put the adapter that came with her iPod in first, she asked me why ("it fits just fine without it")... and now I turn to you. Why put the little piece of plastic between the dock and the iPod?