Apple is finally selling a dongle that lets users charge their iPhone while listening to music through wired headphones.
The dongle, which has been a year in the making, replaces previous inelegant solutions that required more than one adapter just so users can do the things they were already able to do with previous iPhone models.
Confusing iPhone Dongles
Apple infamously removed the iPhone headphone jack and replaced it with the Lightning port beginning with last year's iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and the trend continues with this year's iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus as well as with the upcoming iPhone X.
The decision was met with massive backlash. Apple said that with the removal of the 3.5 mm headphone port, iPhones could become lighter and thinner and will come with improved battery life, but those benefits were not enough for users. They simply wanted to continue using their wired headphones with their iPhones without the need to use the Lightning port-to-3.5 mm adapter that come with the smartphones. The desire was so intense that some users even drilled holes into the iPhone 7, believing that doing so will reveal a hidden headphone jack.
Do You Need The $35 Belkin 3.5 mm Audio + Charge RockStar?
Apple is now selling the Belkin 3.5 mm Audio + Charge RockStar in the Apple Store, and for some iPhone owners, it couldn't have come sooner.
When the iPhone still had a 3.5 mm headphone jack, it was possible to listen to music through a wired headphone and charge the smartphone at the same time, as the headphones and the charger were connected through different ports. However, starting with the iPhone 7, there was only one Lightning connector, which was used by both the 3.5 mm headphone port adapter and the charger.
Previously, users had to attach an adapter that split the Lightning port into two Lightning ports, one of which was for the charger and the other for the 3.5 mm headphone port adapter, for a mess of dongles. However, with the new Belkin RockStar, users no longer need the 3.5 mm headphone port adapter.
It would be nice to again charge your iPhone and use your wired headphones with it, but it should be noted that the dongle is pretty big. This means that it will be difficult to use while moving in public, but at your desk or while in the car, the size should be manageable. The dongle, however, is only meant to be used this way, so attaching other dongles or other Lighting accessories will not work.
While users now have a way to do something they used to do with older iPhones, the new Belkin dongle will likely only make users miss the headphone jack even more.