Accessories No Longer Tethered to Apple
By NICK WINGFIELD and BRIAN X. CHEN May 5, 2013
For years, Apple's clout in the electronics world could be gauged by how easy it was to bump into devices tailor-made for a connection to an iPhone or iPod.
Hotels outfitted guest rooms with alarm clocks containing a telltale wedge of 30 tiny pins that could play music from Apple's devices and charge their batteries. Retail stores were thick with sound docks and other speaker systems meant to work with Apple gadgets.
But Apple's iron grip on the digital accessories in hotel rooms, store shelves and living rooms is starting to slip - potentially risking the royalties it earns from accessory makers and, more significant, giving Apple customers more freedom to switch to rival products. That could be an issue for a company whose stock has been shaken in recent months as investors worry that the iPhone business is slowing.
Jeremy Horwitz, editor in chief of iLounge, a Web site devoted to Apple accessories, said Apple's aggressive control over accessories for its products drove many makers to more open means of connecting devices, which helped feed the success of mobile devices made by other companies.