Old iPhone docks are a depressing sight in this world of Lightning cables and connectors, sitting with their 30-pin connector exposed and lonely. There are a number of Bluetooth accessories that you can use with those devices, including one from accessory-maker Auris called the freeDa. But their latest project is a similar attachment that brings AirPlay and DLNA streaming to those docks.
The Auris Skye is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, and connects via Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth. It lets you stream music from your iPhone, iPad touch, Android or Windows Phone and Mac or PC on your local Wi-Fi network, using either Apple’s proprietary AirPlay streaming protocol or DLNA on Android and Windows. It’s also Wi-Fi Direct enabled, so that you don’t even need to have a Wi-Fi router or network available to use it.
Their are a few advantages to using AirPlay over Bluetooth. For one, if you have other AirPlay speakers and stereo equipment in your home, you can stream to the Skye and those simultaneously from a Mac or PC. Apple also has done its best to optimize the AirPlay streaming protocol for maximum quality, so you’ll get much better sound using it vs. Bluetooth, so long as the Skye works as advertised. Plus, there’s no need to pair; the Skye should just show up in your list of available streaming devices once set up on your network. Finally, Wi-Fi range is far greater than that of Bluetooth.
Skye also doesn’t need a separate power source, as it uses the power from the dock itself, which would normally be used to charge the iOS device sitting in the cradle. The Auris team says they’ve tested it with a range of speakers already, and so far haven’t found one that doesn’t work, and they offer a control app to get you set up.
Santa Clara-based Auris already makes and ships two audio accessories, so it knows how to build product. The company previously kickstarted its Bluetooth receiver, and raised $131,911 (exceeding its $40,000) goal. It’s worth noting that some backers complained about the quality of that device in the comments for that project, but Auris has re-designed the original product, and has already exceeded its $56,000 goal for the Skye, raising $72,197.
AirPlay can be tricky to get right, though the recent incarnations of the tech in consumer products have all performed reliably, so Auris has a lot to deliver with this project and a shipping timeline of December, 2013. Hopefully the company learned some lessons from its first go-around, however, because this is a very useful accessory to have.