November 16, 2012, 1:17 PM — A flurry of Lightning connector accessories for the iPhone 5, iPad Mini and iPad are hitting the market from JBL, Belkin, Schosche and iLuv, among others, giving users more choices beyond what Apple offers.
Lightning is an 8-pin connector, which is smaller than the 30-pin ports that have been on iPhones, iPads, and iPods for years. The switch had users grumbling as the new connector rendered older cables and accessories like speaker docks and chargers obsolete. J Apple's strict certification had delayed the release of third-party Lightning accessories by months, but companies such as Bose have pledged to ship products soon.
JBL's speaker docks
Harman International has introduced two JBL speaker docks -- the OnBeat Micro and Venue LT -- that connect to iPad Mini, iPhone 5 and the newest iPad via a Lightning cable. The US$99 OnBeat Micro is a portable speaker dock that can charge and play music from the iPhone 5. The speaker has a 20-watt amplifier and can bring "noise from ceiling to floor for up to five hours when it's using batteries," according to the company. The speaker dock uses four AAA batteries and also has a USB port to charge other mobile devices.
While the OnBeat Micro is highly portable, the $199 Venue LT is a tabletop speaker dock offering more powerful sound. The Venue LT offers Lightning and Bluetooth connectivity, so users can connect wirelessly even from older iPhone and iPad models. The speaker docks will be available mid-to-late December or early next year, a Harman International spokesman said.