Soon after Apple first announced its new AirPods, I saw a discussion of other companies potentially making a dock for the charging case. And sure enough, I see that there are now some products like this for sale. Spigen makes the Spigen Compact Airpods Stand Charging Case Dock for Airpods, available on Amazon for only $12.99. The idea of a dock for the AirPods seemed a little silly to me because the charging case doesn't have to be charged very often. I use my AirPods every single day (my review), and I probably only need to charge twice a week. If you use your AirPods more often than I do, you may need to charge more frequently, but the battery life is still pretty good. The AirPods themselves last around 4-5 hours, and the charging case provides another 20 hours of battery life.
But even though an AirPods dock seemed unnecessary to me, the truth is that I have been using one almost every day for the last few weeks. On my desk, right next to my computer's keyboard, I have an Apple iPhone Lightning Dock. I reviewed that Apple dock back in 2015, and I continue to love having a specific spot to place my iPhone which makes the screen easy to see and which recharges the iPhone. I noticed that the Lightning connector sticking up from that dock works perfectly with the AirPods — so well that it is almost as if Apple designed this dock with the AirPods in mind.
It is super easy to place the AirPods on the dock or remove them from the dock. But the Lightning connector also has just enough friction that it is also easy to just pop open the lid on the top of the charging case, making it easy to remove or replace the AirPods, and also making it easy to trigger the iPhone's on-screen indication of how much power is left in the AirPods.
The Apple dock is $39. That's not super-expensive, but it does seem like a lot to pay for a dock for a pair of headphones that don't even need to be charged very often, especially considering that the Spigen product, and perhaps others, are available for much less money. So I feel foolish recommending that any user of Apple's AirPods spend $39 just for an AirPods dock.
Having said that, I still really like this product as an iPhone dock. I also love that I can unplug the cord from the back of the dock and then use that Lightning cord to charge my iPad at my desk. (I use the Apple USB-C to Lightning cord with the dock so that the cord provides the fastest possible charge for my 12.9" iPad Air, but the same cord also charges my iPhone or AirPods.) And now that the dock also functions as a convenient stand for the charging case of the AirPods whenever I feel like topping of the charge, I find this dock more useful than ever.
Apple used to release iPhone charging docks that were molded to the shape of the bottom of the iPhone. That meant that you needed a new dock whenever Apple released an iPhone with a new design. Thus, there was an iPhone 3G Dock, an iPhone 4 dock, and an iPhone 5 dock. But now that the Apple Lightning Dock has a flat design and relies on the strength of the Lightning connector to hold an iPhone in place, the current model of the dock has worked with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone 7. We don't yet know what shape the 2017 version of the iPhone will be, not to mention what its name will be, but I suspect that there is a good chance that this dock will continue to work with many generations to come. Thus, I suspect that if you buy this dock now, you will continue to be able to use it with upcoming iPhones for many years.
If you like the idea of a dock for your iPhone and AirPods, Apple's Lightning Dock works really well. And even if you just want an AirPods dock, if you don't mind splurging a little, this product handles AirPods like a champ.