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  1.    #1  
    HI,

    FYI,

    Take care,

    Jay

    Docks for Apple Gadgets Help a Business Thrive
    By ERIC A. TAUB, August 8, 2010

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/09/te...gewanted=print

    RAHWAY, N.J. — In the 1950s and 1960s, Realtone Electronics made transistor radios, one of the must-have gadgets of the era.

    But by the 1970s, that gold mine had played out. For the next two decades, the company survived in the electronics business by making clocks for Timex that sold in drugstores and by creatively combining devices. It made the first cassette tape player-clock radio and the first telephone-clock radio.

    It struck gold again in this decade with another combination — speakers with a dock for the iPod music player from Apple. By tapping into the Apple system, the company, now called SDI Technologies, has become the largest supplier of speaker and alarm clock docks. It is also the leading maker of hotel alarm clocks.

    Software developers may chafe at Apple’s restrictions and standards for the iPod, iPhone and iPad. But Apple’s set-in-stone design requirements actually help companies making speaker docks and rechargers because they know that the placement of the connector will probably not vary from one Apple model to the next. And they are confident that sales of the Apple products will be strong enough that they will lead to large production runs.

    In 2005, SDI was trying to figure out how to recreate the company for the digital age. “I asked one of our designers if he could replace a CD changer from one of our clock radios and let the user wake and sleep from an iPod,” said Ezra S. Ashke****, SDI’s president and the son of one of Realtone’s founders. “When I asked that, the karma in the room changed.”

    “We recreated the $19.99 drugstore alarm clock radio and turned it into a $100 product,” Mr. Ashke**** said.

    To increase the likelihood of success with its first Apple accessory, the company purposely mimicked the Apple style in its earliest designs. “Our instructions to our designers were ‘Make it look like Apple designed it,’ ” Mr. Ashke**** said. Its first product, the iH5, was housed in a white plastic case and packaged in a clean box with minimal graphics. “This was the opposite of our Timex boxes,” he said.

    “This was a real challenge for us. You get no help from Apple except for specs and requirements. We knew we had something big when stores mistakenly called our products ‘iHome by Apple,’ ” Mr. Ashke**** said.

    It transformed the private company, now run by the children and grandchildren of the men who started the company near the foot of Fifth Avenue in New York. It gets the bulk of its revenue from its 20 types of iPod and iPhone audio accessories.

    With 20 percent of the speaker dock market, the company has twice the market share of Sony, its nearest competitor. It also dwarfs Memorex, iLive and Bose.

    “IHome has done a good job keeping pace and growing their portfolio,” said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at the research firm NPD. “They established the clock dock category and created many variations.”

    Not that the company has not made mistakes. An under-the-counter kitchen iPod dock failed to attract customers. “It was expensive, and you had to drill under a cabinet to install it,” Mr. Ashke**** said.

    In the hotel market, though, the company has placed more than two million alarm clocks with iPod and iPhone docks in almost 40 percent of the 4.9 million hotel rooms in the United States, according hotelnewsnow.com. It cleverly gave itself an edge by designing an iPod alarm clock that would ring only once and then reset itself, preventing the next guest in the room from being unexpectedly awakened at 5:30 in the morning.

    Responding to the current obsession with software applications, or apps, for the iPhone or iPad, the company has created its first app-aware alarm clock. Its free iHome+Sleep app allows an iPhone user to customize the phone with sleep, wake and music instructions.

    When a traveler docks the iPhone to the hotel alarm clock, the proper settings are used. That way, a weary traveler never has to figure out how the alarm clock works. The app also handles Twitter messages and aggregates news and weather that is displayed on the iPhone upon awakening.

    Its first iPad-compatible product, the $199 iA100, will be sold later this year at its usual outlets, including Best Buy and Apple stores. Like all accessories manufacturers, iHome had to wait until the iPad was in stores before it could learn its dimensions and specs.

    It reconfigured an earlier, iPhone-only design to accommodate the iPad. The iA100, equipped with Bluetooth, can stream music from an unconnected iPhone or iPad across a room. The iA100’s clock also syncs to the correct time on an iPhone or iPad.

    Given the iPad’s larger battery capacity, Mr. Ashke****’s designers were not concerned with having it continuously connected to the docking station to be recharged. To appeal to video game players, iHome increased the unit’s sound quality by incorporating four speakers and enhanced bass response.

    Though Apple’s products are selling well, some analysts say SDI Technologies is still taking a risk by relying on one company’s products.

    “You’re tied to the core,” said Robert Enderle, president of the Enderle Group research firm. “If the Android smartphone market takes off, you’re in trouble.”

    Mr. Ashke**** is not worried. “The iPad, iPhone and iPod are recession-proof,” he said.
    Please Support Research into Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and Spinal Injuries. If You Suffer from These, Consider Joining or Better Yet Forming a Support Group. No One Should Suffer from the Burden of Chronic Pain, Jay M. S. Founder, Leesburg Fibromyalgia/Resources Group
  2. #2  
    I wish they would consider making Pre accessories!
    _________________
    aka Gfunkmagic

    Current device: Palm Pre
    Device graveyard: Palm Vx, Cassiopeia E100, LG Phenom HPC, Palm M515, Treo 300, Treo 600, Treo 650, Treo 700p, Axim X50v, Treo 800w



    Please don't PM me about my avatar. For more info go here.

    Restore your Pre to factory settings using webos doctor and follow these instructions

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