Apple’s iPhone App Store has been a runaway success — probably more than Apple ever imagined it would be.
But getting other companies to make hardware add-ons for the iPhone hasn’t gone as well.
While Apple made tools available for companies a couple years ago to make gadgets that hook into the iPhone, there just haven’t been that many.
And those that do exist haven’t really taken off yet. Have you ever seen someone using their iPhone as a TV remote or as a blood pressure monitor?
There is one promising lead, though: Using the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad as a payment terminal, via add-ons like the Square credit card reader. Apple itself is even using the iPod touch as a point-of-sale device in its retail stores. This is a situation where the Apple hardware is actually cheaper than making custom electronics, so it might work.
Other hardware projects, such as making game pad accessories, seem more far-fetched. But maybe someone will come up with something awesome and it will take off.
Square and other mobile payments products allow you to perform credit card transactions on your iPhone or iPad.
Square uses the headphone jack, while rival services from other companies use the iPhone dock connector.
The iCade gaming cabinet for your iPad apparently isn't a joke after all.
We'll have to see how this hooks into games, though. Would a device like this ever become popular enough that game developers support it by default?
The Pedal Brain is an advanced cycling computer for serious bikers. It will calculate power, track distance, and even help coach you as you ride. It's available for a monthly fee that ranges from $0 to $48.
You can turn your iPhone into an electronic wallet of sorts with the iCarte using its Near Field Communication (NFC) and RFID capabilities. It's like always having your debit and credit card with you.
One of the most curious of the bunch, Life Technologies released the Ion Personal Genome Machine. It's designed for research use and 'not intended for animal or human therapeutic or diagnostic use.'
It also looks like it should be able to do its job without the iPhone.