One of the earliest reviews of an iPhone accessory that I posted on iPhone J.D. was my review of the iPhone 3G Dock back in 2008. When explaining why I liked that dock, I said: "First, it gives me a specific place to keep my iPhone when I am working at my desk so that it is always in that same convenient location when I need to reach for it. Second, it keeps my iPhone charged while it is sitting in the dock." Since 2008, I've continued to appreciate having a dock for my iPhone on my desk at work for those same two reasons. Unfortunately, because Apple's docks have been custom molded to fit specific iPhone models, they wouldn't work when your iPhone was in a case, and they also would become obsolete when you bought a new iPhone with a different design. The iPhone 3G Dock also worked with the iPhone 3GS that came out in 2009, but then I had to purchase a new dock in 2010 when I upgraded to the iPhone 4. The iPhone 4 dock worked with the iPhone 4 and 4S, but in 2012 when Apple released the iPhone 5 with a different design, I needed another dock. For whatever reason, Apple didn't release a new dock in 2012, and the old ones did not work with the iPhone 5 not only because the shape was different but also because the iPhone 5 used the new Lightning connector. A year later in 2013, after Apple released the iPhone 5S, it released yet another dock, one that worked with the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S.
When the iPhone 6 came out in 2014, it used yet another design — indeed, the entire iPhone was larger than prior models — so I could no longer use the dock that I had used with my iPhone 5S. And when Apple didn't release a dock for the iPhone 6 in 2014, I thought that we might have to wait another year, much like we did when the iPhone 5 came out. We did have to wait, but it wasn't a full year. Last month (May of 2015), Apple released its newest dock called the iPhone Lightning Dock. It costs $39. I bought one, and I've been using it at my desk at work for the last few weeks.
Like the prior Apple dock models, this latest dock has a rubbery bottom so that it doesn't move around on your desk, but there is nothing sticky about the bottom so when you want to move it around, you can easily do so. Also like the prior models, there is a connector in the back where you plug in a charging cord, plus there is an audio out port in the back, useful if you want to plug in headphones or an external speaker while your iPhone is in the dock.
There is one major difference between this dock and the prior models. This newest dock is not molded to the shape of the bottom of the iPhone. Instead, the Lightning connector is strong enough that it can hold up the weight of an iPhone. And because the Lightning connector is raised somewhat, you can even use this dock when your iPhone is in certain cases, such as the iPhone leather case made by Apple that I use (which I reviewed last year).
This new design for the dock is a big improvement. Not only does it mean that you can use this dock with some iPhone cases, but it also means that the dock might continue to work with future iPhones even if Apple changes the design. Indeed, I was able to place my iPad Air 2 in this dock and it worked. I strongly do not recommend that you do this; it wasn't very stable and could have easily fell over with a large iPad on it. But I tried it just to prove that the dock could work with different sized devices that also have a Lightning port. I don't have an iPhone 6 Plus to try with this dock, but I'm sure that it works just fine.
Many years ago, Apple made what it called a Universal Dock. It worked with different models of the iPod and iPhone by using plastic adapters. You used the right size adapter for your device, and that adapter made your device fit with the dock. It was nice to have that flexibility, but I far prefer this latest design. It is much sleeker and allows for a smaller dock.
I've been very happy with this dock. I like having a central place to put my iPhone on my desk. The dock props up the iPhone at a nice angle so that I can easily see the screen if I need to use the iPhone while in the dock or just want to glance at an alert. And of course I like that my iPhone charges while it is in the dock.
While the dock does a nice job of holding the iPhone very steady, it is very easy to remove the iPhone from the dock. I've seen other reviews that say that you need to use two hands — one to hold the dock and one to pull the iPhone off. But I find that I can easily remove the iPhone from the dock with just one hand. I grip the iPhone with my thumb and third finger, and then I push against the top of the dock with my pinkie finger and it lifts right out.
It is also very easy to pull the Lightning cable out of the back of this dock. I mention this because I frequently remove the cable so that I can plug it in to my iPad to charge it while it is on my desk, and then when I'm done I plug it back in to this dock. Even when I don't have a Lightning charger cord connected to this dock, I still like to keep my iPhone in it just so that I always know where my iPhone is located (and don't have to worry about it getting buried under papers), plus I like how the dock props the iPhone at a nice angle.
This next picture shows my new dock with all of the prior models. The top row has the iPhone 3G dock and the Universal Dock, and the second row has the iPhone 4 dock, the iPhone 5 dock, and the new dock that works with the iPhone 6.
Hopefully I won't need to add to that collection for some time. The new design of this dock should allow it to work with many future models of the iPhone.
There are other companies that make iPhone docks, some of which prop the iPhone higher in the air such as the Twelve South HiRise. But I've always preferred the minimalist design of Apple's docks, and this latest dock is the shortest and sleekest one yet. If you like the idea of having a central place to keep your iPhone on your desk, and you like having your iPhone propped up at an angle so that you can easily see the screen, and you like keeping your iPhone charged while at your desk, then you are likely to enjoy using this dock as much as I do.